Emma Raducanu reached the last-16 in Indian Wells for the first time as she stunned Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-1 2-6 6-4. Just seven days ago the Brit was a doubt for the tournament as she struggled with a wrist injury and continued to recover from tonsillitis. But Raducanu has now earned her best win by ranking since her 2021 US Open victory, surviving a wobble when she lost the second set to dispatch the world No 13 in two hours and 19 minutes.
Raducanu was bidding to go one further than she did in Indian Wells 12 months ago as she stepped onto the court for her third-round match. The Brit had a tough test in 13th seed Haddad Maia but started strong with a love hold and immediately broke to lead 2-0.
The world No 77 continued to impose herself on the 26-year-old as she set up two more break points at 4-1, taking the second one to serve for the set. Raducanu faced some trouble when she lost two points from 4-0 up but quickly closed out the first set 6-1 in just 34 minutes.
It was a stellar serving performance from the Brit in the opener, as she made 81 per cent of her first serves compared to just 50 per cent from the 13th seed. Haddad Maia ended the 20-year-old’s run of games as she started the second set with a hold to love, and it was suddenly Raducanu’s turn to face break points as she went 15-40 down in her first service game of set number two.
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After proving so strong in the first set, the Brit’s second serve abandoned her as she hit a double fault to give away the game. Raducanu continued to find herself threatened on serve, being pushed to deuce before saving a set point at 2-5 down. The world No 77’s first serve had now abandoned her, as her fourth double fault of the second set gave Haddad Maia another set point, saved again by Raducanu.
But the Brazilian was gifted a third set point and finally took it as the Brit dumped the ball into the net, as Raducanu lost her first set of the tournament 6-2 while the crowd chanted for Haddad Maia. The Brit briefly left the court ahead of the final set and was the first to face a break point in the decider, holding for 2-2.
Raducanu stepped up her game in response, earning her own break point as she fired down a number of overheads, but some big serving from Haddad Maia denied her the chance to break. The Brit started stepping inside the baseline more, replicating her tactic from the opening set as she earned another break point at 3-3 and this time she was able to convert it, drawing first blood in set three.
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The Brit continued to impose herself on Haddad Maia, setting up two break points on the 13th seed’s serve – this time also match points – but they were saved by the Brazilian. Raducanu had to serve it out herself and she managed to pull off the upset, winning in three sets to get her best victory by ranking since beating then-No 12 Belinda Bencic en route to her US Open title victory in 2021.
With her victory, the British No 1 is now through to the round-of-16 in Indian Wells for the first time in her young career. Raducanu lost her opener in 2021 in what was her first match since winning the US Open and received a bye to the second round last year as one of the seeds, winning her first match before falling in the last-32.
And Raducanu could now face her toughest test yet, as she will meet either world No 1 Iga Swiatek or fellow former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round. The Brit has met Swiatek once before in the Stuttgart quarter-final, losing 6-4 6-4.
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