Emma Raducanu returns the ball against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium
Seoul (AFP) - Emma Raducanu enjoyed support from the Korea Open crowd on the way to a straight-sets win over 396th-ranked Yanina Wickmayer and a place in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Raducanu, who crashed out of the US Open in the first round last month as her title defence fell flat, overcame some late resistance to beat the experienced Belgian 6-3, 7-5 in Seoul.
The 19-year-old Briton said that her serving, including nine aces, formed the backbone of victory and she next faces third seed Magda Linette of Poland.
“I think that serving big and serving well and a lot of aces, especially in the second set, helped me get off to a pretty good lead, 4-1 up, which gave me bit of a cushion because Yanina started fighting back and it was a competitive second set,” said the sixth seed.
Eyeing up the 30-year-old Linette in the last eight, the former US Open champion added: “Linette is a challenging opponent with many years more experience than me. I’m focused on that match and not thinking further ahead.”
Raducanu reached a career-high 10th in the world in July, but is now 77th, having failed to build on her shock success at Flushing Meadows last year.
The 32-year-old Wickmayer held her own initially, exchanging breaks to 3-3, before the Briton picked up the pace to take the first set.
Raducanu carried that momentum into the second set and was leading 4-1, only for Wickmayer to fight back to 4-4.
Raducanu eventually pulled through and she told reporters in Seoul that she fed off the adoring Korean fans.
“I think that their support for me was really nice and I really appreciate it. I feel so welcome and really comfortable on the court here,” she said.