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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday October 26, 2021

Emma Raducanu

2021 US Open picked up her first WTA-Level win by defeating Polona Hercog at the Transylvania Open.

Photo Source: Transylvania Open

Emma Raducanu won for the first time since she was crowned a Grand Slam champion at this year’s US Open, defeating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on Tuesday at the Transylvania Open, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 to book a second-round clash with Romania’s Ana Bogdan.

Tennis Express

Raducanu, who made history last month by becoming the first qualifier to ever win a Grand Slam singles title in the first all-teenage Grand Slam final since 1999, also battled from a set down for the first time at tour-level, claiming eight of the final nine games to improve to 14-4 on the season.

Strangely, all of Raducanu’s previous victories had come at the Grand Slam level, so Tuesday’s win was her first official WTA win. It was a happy moment for the 18-year-old.

"I feel really happy, honestly, to have won that match," she told reporters in a Zoom press conference after the contest. "It was very difficult and I wasn't playing my best tennis, but Polona is a great opponent and she's really experienced so I really had to fight hard to put that one through and I thought that by the end of the third set I was playing some better tennis and the most important thing was that I earned another opportunity to go and play better in my next round."

It was a gritty performance from Raducanu. She saved a break point at 4-4 in the second set and another at at 5-5, before converting her third set point opportunity in the 12th game of set two.

She then rode the momentum to a commanding 5-0 lead in set three before closing out the win in two hours and 28 minutes.

Every Match is a Chance to Grow

Raducanu sees all experiences as opportunities for growth, and Tuesday was no exception.

"I think I take a lot from this match today," she said. "All of the matches I'm playing I'm just gaining in experience and I feel like that one today definitely counts a huge part to that, because when you're not playing very well, you think to yourself, you know you can do better, and just pulling it through, and also after dropping the first set, it hasn't happened to me very often so far, but I think that I learned a lot to just try and dig in and I can turn matches around, so that's a big learning for me."

Quick on the Baseline, Quick as a Linguist

The No.2 seed is also enjoying her time in Romania, a place that she travels to on a fairly regular basis, thanks to her family roots. She conducted her post-match interview in Romanian and told reporters that she doesn’t really study the language, she just learns it by talking to her grandmother.

"I've never actually learned Romanian," she said. "The only time that I've picked up words is because my grandma has spoken to me a lot of times, and she tells a lot of stories, so I've just picked up the vocab that way, from a young age, every time I came to Romania and spent a couple of weeks here, it would always improve by the end, but I don't speak that much at home so then it gets worse and I don't think I've spoken much in the last 18 months, just a couple of phone calls a week to my grandma, but staying here already like five days, I feel like it's improving and I'm getting less and less shy to speak and make the mistakes."

Raducanu, whose father is of Romanian descent, says she enjoys the support and the way the people have embraced her. The kindness of the locals is not lost on her.

"It definitely means a lot," she said. "I mean it's my first win, I knew that as well, in my head so I was battling really hard to try and get on the board and especially to play here in Romania, I had amazing support so they definitely helped me through. It's a shame that there aren't fans here, but I hope that they were watching and I just wanted to do them proud."


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