The highlight of the opening round in the women’s draw has to be the clash between two former US Open champions in Emma Raducanu and Bianca Andreescu. Both women will be eager for a big run as they seek a return to the highs of their biggest titles before loss of form and injury struck. Andreescu won the only previous meeting between the two, winning in Rome by retirement although she was 6-2 2-1 up at the time.
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Although she lost in straight sets, Andreescu will be encouraged by her performance against Iga Swiatek at Indian Wells. She pushed the No. 1 hard in the 6-3 7-6 loss and could even have took it three with a better tiebreak performance. It has not been a good start to the year for the Canadian who is just 6-6 on the year and has suffered some disappointing losses.
Raducanu also lost to Swiatek at Indian Wells but her match was much less close with the Brit unable to break even once during her 6-3 6-1 loss. It was however a good week for her in general with three good wins in the book following her return from injury and a training camp. “I think I had a few good wins earlier against some great opponents. I did two good training weeks in London. They paid off to an extent but ultimately two weeks of training isn’t going to cut it against the world number one right now” she said after. “Physically I feel like that’s going to be one of my biggest assets. I think that I’m going to be one of the best athletes on the tour, and that’s going to be a big part of my game.
If Raducanu can produce the form of the early stages at Indian Wells, she definitely has a chance against an opponent who is still struggling for consistency. Andreescu does seem to up her game on occasion in bigger matches and with both players eager to prove their slam runs were not one-offs, the Canadian should be up for this one. She should have a bit more power and variety in this one but a bad start could give a reinvigorated Raducanu confidence.
Prediction – Bianca Andreescu in three sets
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