Winning tennis matches hasn’t been Emma Raducanu’s only concern lately – staying injury-free has become tricky for the British star.
The 20-year-old has suffered a myriad of injuries over the past 18 months which have dashed her hopes of success on the pitch.
But Raducanu’s run at Indian Wells showed glimpses of the form that won her Grand Slam success in 2021 as she qualified for Indian Wells’ last 16 on Monday after beating the No. 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia in three sets, 6-1 2- 6 6-4.
In doing so, Raducanu qualified for the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in her career, while winning three straight matches for only the second time since winning the US Open in September 2021.
Raducanu last claimed three straight wins in 2022 at the WTA 250 in Seoul, South Korea before being forced to retire against Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals once again due to injury.
Following the win over Brazilian Haddad Maia – Raducanu’s highest-ranked scalp since winning the US Open almost two years ago – the Briton’s analysis was that she had played “a really high level at certain moments of the game”.
“I think I played extremely well in the first set and in the third set as well,” Raducanu told reporters. “There were some really good points and moments. I think overall the level went up in the third, and it was a battle between the two of us.
As well as a lingering wrist injury that hampered her last season, Raducanu suffered an ankle injury ahead of the Australian Open earlier this year, while tonsillitis forced her to withdraw. from the Austin Open last month.
Following her win over world number 21 Magda Linette in the previous round in Indian Wells, Raducanu admitted she was still not “pain free”.
However, Raducanu got off to a good start against Haddad Maia, breaking her twice in the first set.
The 26-year-old Brazilian showed her own determination – and why she won the second most matches in the WTA last year – breaking Raducanu twice in the second set to tie the game.
In a hard-fought final set, Raducanu showed great courage to end a six-game losing streak against the top 20 opponents.
The current world No. 77 will now face world No. 1 Iga Świątek in the next round after the three-time Grand Slam winner continued her impressive form in 2023 by beating 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in straight sets.