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Emma Raducanu ‘very proud’ of Billie Jean King Cup win in ‘significant’ clay debut

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EMMA RADUCANU defeated Tereza Martincova in her Billie Jean King Cup debut.

Emma Raducanu shared her pride after clinching a crucial point for the Great Britain Billie Jean King Cup team with a 7-5 7-5 win over Tereza Martincova in what was her first-ever clay match and her first BJK Cup tie.

Raducanu has shared the meaning of her first win for the British BJK Cup squad after keeping her team alive in the qualifier tie against the Czech Republic. The 19-year-old defeated world No 50 Martincova in a two-hour and four-minute battle after coming from a double-break down in the second set to get her country to 1-1 following Harriet Dart’s loss to Marketa Vondrousova in the first rubber.

Speaking after what was both her professional debut on a clay court and her debut in the team competition, the world US Open champion gushed: “Oh my god, this one means so much to me because it’s my first match at Billie Jean King Cup and to represent my team and come out here on a clay court which is my first professional match on clay it’s really amazing and we’re still in this battle and it’s all to play for tomorrow.”

The Bromley local also shared her appreciation for her teammates Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Karthal and captain Anne Keothavong for pushing her on in the match, and admitted it was special to be creating memories in such an individual sport. “Yeah definitely the team had my back 100% as we had Harriet’s back this morning and it’s amazing to be in a team competition when everything is so individual in this sport so I’m really cherishing the memories that I’m making this week,” she continued.

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Raducanu had not played a competitive match on a clay court since the 2018 French Open juniors, where she beat Maria Timofeeva in straight sets before losing to current WTA world No 38 Clara Tauson 6-2 6-1, and had never played one at pro level. Looking back on her junior stint on the surface, the 19-year-old admitted she was still adjusting

“I mean 2018 French Open was four quite a while back, I can’t completely accept that it’s been that long,” she chuckled. “In any case, certainly took some acclimating to it even presently in the circumstances, it was exceptionally blustery and a ton of terrible skips so to change and adjust to the circumstance was most certainly extremely testing and I’m super pleased with how I dove in.”

During the match, the world No 12 was forced to recover from a break down in the final set and ended up winning six of the next seven games to win through 7-5 7-5. Speaking about her monumental fightback in the second set, she said: “I think that in the beginning of the second set I went a bit flat and everyone in my team was telling me my intensity had dropped and it’s tough when you’re in the match and you feel like it’s slipping away from you to regain that but very happy I managed to in the end.”

Raducanu will now face the Czech Republic’s No 1 player Vondrousova on day two of the tie on Saturday. The pair have faced off once before in the Brit’s Wimbledon debut when she was the world No 338 with a wildcard last summer, and she beat the world No 32 6-2 6-4 in the secon round at the time.

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