Emma Raducanu forgets injury worries to advance at Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates defeating Magda Linette of Poland – Emma Raducanu forgets her injury worries by beating Magda Linette to progress at Indian Wells – Getty Images/Julian Finney

Emma Raducanu said this week that she tries to use adversity as an incentive. She has certainly experienced many setbacks in the 18 months since her glorious triumph at the US Open, but the signs from Indian Wells on Saturday – where Raducanu defeated Magda Linette in straight sets – were clearly positive.

With Linette rising to career-high No. 21 in the world since her last Australian Open semi-final appearance, it was Raducanu’s best ranking win since that breakthrough in New York. She appeared to be in trouble early on as she slipped to a 4-1 deficit, but her competitive instincts showed as she roared back to claim a 7-6, 6-2 win in 1:50.

There was a moment of physical apprehension – when not, with Raducanu? – when she called the coach to the pitch when the score was 6:5 in the first set. She underwent a brief inspection of her troublesome wrist, but declined medical leave, opting for a simple painkiller instead.

The intervention seemed untimely as she had just broken Linette’s serve and then was broken by love in the next game. But Raducanu regained her composure and swept through the tiebreaker with a 7-3 lead. From then on, she was largely unconcerned as she used her superior movement to outmaneuver the increasingly confused Linette.

Emma Raducanu - Emma Raducanu forgets injury worries as she defeats Magda Linette and progresses at Indian Wells - Getty Images/Mike Frey

Emma Raducanu – Emma Raducanu forgets injury worries as she defeats Magda Linette and progresses at Indian Wells – Getty Images/Mike Frey

With Indian Wells being a 96-player event, Raducanu is still a long way from racking up the kind of ranking points that would give her a significant boost up the ladder. But that’s still the furthest she’s come in the California desert after busting out in the first round in 2021 (the first event she played after her life-changing US Open) and the second round last year .

Coupled with her dysfunctional build – which left her with wrist tendinitis and the aftermath of tonsillitis – it took a tremendous effort to defeat her first two opponents in straight sets. Against Danka Kovinic on Thursday, she spent most of the changes coughing into her towel. But unlike Linette, her health seemed generally more robust despite that single visit from the trainer.

Despite these signs of improved form, a return to the British colors at next month’s Billie Jean King Cup looks increasingly unlikely after Raducanu unexpectedly admitted on Thursday that she doesn’t know when the game will be played. Additionally, Raducanu’s careless comment clearly surprised Anne Keothavong, the British BJK Cup captain who is out and about in Indian Wells this week.

At a press conference after the Kovinic game, Raducanu was asked if she planned to join the British team that will play France at the Coventry Building Society Arena on April 14-15. “I don’t even know when it is,” Raducanu replied. “I haven’t thought about it. I was just about in my zone like I said. I’ll decide that later.” The comment came after she previously explained that she deleted WhatsApp and Instagram from her phone after the Australian Open and “lives under my own little rock”.

A few hours later, Keothavong took to Twitter to point out that “in general, my communication skills are good, in case anyone was wondering.”

Andy Murray ended his string of deciding sets with a comparatively comfortable straight-set win over Radu Albot in the second round.

The former world No. 1 won in straight sets for the first time since October against the Moldovan, a late replacement for No. 15 Pablo Carreno Busta, who pulled out of the game through injury.

Murray was unhappy about being timed in the first set - AP

Murray was unhappy about being timed in the first set – AP

Penalized with a time limit at one point, Murray initially struggled with the windy conditions before coming through 6-4, 6-4.

He next meets Jack Draper, who will play in his second consecutive all-British showdown after defeating Dan Evans in the second round.

Evans was coming back from an ankle problem, but that was less of an issue than the left-hander’s superior firepower, 6ft 4in Draper.

With some really toxic forehands, Draper hit a long first set and then accelerated to a 6-4, 6-2 win in exactly two hours.

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