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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday June 27 2022

 
Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu dispatched former quarterfinalist Alison Van Uytvanck in straight sets on her Centre Court debut.

Photo Source: Getty

Seven games into her grass-court season, it was nearly over. Two weeks ago in Nottingham, after Emma Raducanu retired after seven games of her first match at Nottingham, it was natural to think that the Brit's chances at this year’s Wimbledon were in jeopardy.

Tennis Express

But the British No.1 showed her best form mentally and physically on Day 1, coming through her Centre Court debut with an energized 6-4, 6-4 victory over Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.

Most believed the former quarterfinalist was going to be a big challenge for Raducanu, especially given the Brit’s injury situation, but Raducanu was strong from start to finish on Monday.


“I definitely feel that because I didn't play tennis for two weeks, then this week I've hit like an hour a day,” Raducanu told reporters after the win. “My preparation wasn't necessarily the greatest. But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really especially switch on. I don't feel like I need massive amount of preparation.

“Of course, I do to build physically. I think a lot of it is mental, and I definitely went out with the belief today. I know that I can compete with anyone on the other side of the court when I really go for it.”

Raducanu had to be good to get past the 28-year-old in the pressure moments. She took the final two games of the opening set, then rallied from 3-1 down in the second set, winning five of the final six games to set her clash with Caroline Garcia.

Garcia will be another tough test for Raducanu. She defeated Yuriko Miyazaki of Great Britain, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) to increase her winning streak to six – the Frenchwoman won the title on Saturday at Bad Homburg, defeating Bianca Andreescu in the final.

“Caroline is a great opponent,” Raducanu said. “I played her earlier on in the year in Indian Wells and it was a tricky match. She plays pretty fast tennis. I'm ready for that. Right now I'm kind of just enjoying the win. But tomorrow I'll prepare well and, yeah, be ready to go Wednesday.”

That Centre Court Magic

Raducanu says she was particularly moved by the experience on playing on Centre Court for the first time. The British No.1 rose to the occasion quite nicely, in what could be the first of a career’s worth of wins on the fabled court.

She compares the court favorably to Arthur Ashe Stadium, where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title last year in New York.

“I would say it's funny 'cause this place for me is, like, still the most special, the most prestigious,” she said. “Although Centre Court size-wise is smaller than Ashe by quite a lot, it definitely feels bigger in significance. Just the feeling that I get here is definitely special compared to all the other tournaments.”

 

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