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Raducanu saves match point against Pegula in Eastbourne, Keys advances

Madison Keys in action at the Eastbourne International (Glyn KIRK)
Madison Keys in action at the Eastbourne International (Glyn KIRK)

Emma Raducanu registered her first-ever victory over a top-10 player at the Eastbourne International on Wednesday, saving a match point on the way to upsetting second seed Jessica Pegula as Madison Keys cruised through.

Former US Open champion Raducanu edged a tight second-set tie-break to level the match against her American opponent and held her nerve to win 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-5 after a major wobble in the decider.

Raducanu said earlier this week that she was back in love with tennis having struggled with injuries and form since being thrust into the spotlight by her shock win at Flushing Meadows in 2021.

The 21-year-old, who missed the entire grass-court season last year following surgery, opted not to play in qualifying for the French Open or at the Paris Olympics but has a wild card for Wimbledon, which starts next week.

Raducanu, who saved a match point in the second-set tie-break, appeared to be cantering towards victory when she led 5-2 in the third set but Pegula, who won the Berlin grass-court tournament last week, broke twice to level.

The former British number one, now ranked 168th in the world, carved out a break of her own to edge ahead again and survived a clutch of break points to seal the win, setting up a quarter-final tie with Daria Kasatkina.

"It's incredibly difficult when you're playing someone who's so in-form like Jessica," said Raducanu.

"She came off the back of a great run in Berlin, and no doubt she's feeling confident on the grass, but I'm really pleased with how I managed to navigate some really tough situations and to be honest I didn't think I'd be able to get myself out of it.

"I would say this match is one of the more meaningful ones to me.... To come through, it's been really nice."

Defending champion and fourth seed Keys beat Ukrainian qualifier Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.

The American will next face 2023 French Open finalist Karolina Muchova, who is playing her first tournament for nine months, after the Czech eased past Polish qualifier Magda Linette 6-4, 6-1.

Britain's Katie Boulter continued her fine form on grass by putting out fifth seed and former champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 7-5.

The British number one, who won the Nottingham tournament earlier this month, will take on third seed Jasmine Paolini in the next round.

In the men's event, Australia's Aleksandar Vukic put out third seed Alexander Bublik 6-4, 6-4 while fourth seed Sebastian Baez exited in straight sets at the hands of Miomir Kecmanovic.

Chinese teenager Shang Juncheng beat Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and will meet top seed and two-time American former champion Taylor Fritz, who produced a serving masterclass to defeat Thiago Seyboth Wild 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

jw/lp