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 has blighted her hopes of on-court success.
But Raducanu’s run at Indian Wells has shown glimpses of the form that brought her grand slam success in 2021 as she advanced to the last 16 of Indian Wells on Monday after beating No. 13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in three sets, 6-1 2-6 6-4.
In doing so, Raducanu advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in her career, as well as winning three successive matches for only the second time since winning the US Open in September 2021.
Raducanu last managed three successive victories in 2022 at the WTA 250 in Seoul, South Korea, before she was forced to retire against Jelena Ostapenko in the semifinals once again due to injury.
Following victory over Brazilian Haddad Maia – Raducanu’s highest-ranked scalp since her US Open victory almost two years ago – the Briton’s analysis was that she played a “really high level at some points of the match.”
“I think that 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 increased in the third, and it was a battle from both of us.”
As well as a lingering wrist injury that hampered her last season, Raducanu suffered an ankle injury before the Australian Open earlier this year, while tonsillitis forced her to withdraw from the Austin Open last month.
Following her victory over world No. 21 Magda Linette in the previous round at Indian Wells, Raducanu admitted she still wasn’t “pain free.”
However, Raducanu got off to a flying start against Haddad Maia, breaking her twice in the first set.
The 26-year-old Brazilian showed her own resolve – and why she won the second most matches on the WTA last year – breaking Raducanu twice in the second set to level the match.
In a nail-biting final set, Raducanu showed plenty of grit to end a six-match losing run against top-20 opposition.
The current world No. 77 will now faces 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.