Wimbledon 2024: Raducanu through as Kartal sets up Gauff meeting

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Emma Raducanu cruised past Belgium’s Elise Mertens to join fellow Briton Sonay Kartal in the Wimbledon third round.
Former British number one Raducanu, given a wildcard in her return to the Championships after last year’s injury troubles, struck the ball confidently and clinically in a 6-1 6-2 win.
It is the first time she has reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since lifting the 2021 US Open title as an 18-year-old qualifier.

Raducanu’s impressive victory came a couple of hours after 22-year-old qualifier Kartal produced the biggest win of her career to beat France’s Clara Burel in three sets.
Kartal, ranked 298th in the world, won 6-3 5-7 6-3 to become the first home player to reach the Wimbledon third round this year.
She will face US Open champion Coco Gauff after the American’s 6-2 6-1 win over Anca Todoni.
From ‘winning ugly’ to winning pretty
If Raducanu’s first-round win was all about “winning ugly”, her dominant victory over 33rd-ranked Mertens was a thing of beauty.
The 21-year-old’s clean ball-striking was a marked improvement from the win over Mexican lucky loser Renata Zarazua.
Raducanu produced a nervy return and a double fault in the opening two points of the match but quickly settled down to assert her authority.
Serving strongly and overpowering Mertens with her power from the baseline was the key.
Now ranked 135th in the world, Raducanu raced through the opening set to the delight of the home fans on Court One and maintained her level in an equally impressive second set.
Missing the clay-court French Open in order to be better prepared for the Wimbledon grass has proved to be a wise decision.
After reaching the Nottingham semi-finals and beating world number five Jessica Pegula on her way to the Eastbourne quarter-finals, Raducanu arrived at Wimbledon in encouraging form.
The way she dismantled Mertens has further excited the British crowd.
Asked in her on-court interview if it was the best she had played in the past few years, several fans in a boisterous crowd shouted ‘yes’.
A laughing Raducanu replied: “Well, everyone else said yes!
“I played really good tennis and I knew all the hard yards would lead to something and I am just happy I can reap some of the rewards here in Wimbledon.”
Raducanu will play Greek ninth seed Maria Sakkari – who she memorably beat to reach the US Open final almost three years ago – in the last 32 on Friday.
Kartal’s ‘special day’ as dream run continues
A memorable week for Kartal continued as she became the second British woman to reach the third round as a qualifier in the Open era, and the first since Karen Cross in 1997.
Kartal previously said she thought she would be unable to take to the tennis court for the rest of this year after a serious health scare, but she recovered to come through qualifying.
The Brighton-born player powered through the first set and led by a break in the second. However, Burel – ranked 253 places above Kartal – fought back to force a decider, her confidence rising as she unleashed some brilliant backhand passes.
Kartal composed herself and broke in the fifth game of the final set when a forehand clipped the net cord and landed on Burel’s side, with a volley sealing another break and the victory.
“Today is a really special day for me,” Kartal said. “Monday was a high but I’ve topped that today.”
Evans unhappy with ‘fancy jackets’
Britain’s Dan Evans complained about authority figures in “fancy jackets” allowing his first-round match to continue late on Tuesday night after he lost when it resumed on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old was beaten 6-2 7-5 6-3 by Chilean 24th seed Alejandro Tabilo.
Evans, ranked 60 in the world, wore heavy strapping on his knee after slipping at the back of the court on the grass at Queen’s Club on 18 June.
Initially Evans feared he would miss Wimbledon, but the injury was a “bad strain” and he recovered in time for his home Grand Slam.
After losing to Tabilo, Evans expressed his displeasure at playing on a court at Wimbledon that he did not deem to be “safe”.
“It’s sort of the second time it’s happened over the grass where I’ve ended up going on pretty late because of the weather, which has been frustrating. It’s just part and parcel of it,” said Evans.
“Obviously, my first concern is to be safe after what happened. Obviously, that grass court wasn’t safe where I slipped I don’t think.
“I didn’t think the court was playable last night for the large majority of the time we were on court.
“The powers that be in the fancy jackets didn’t agree with me and we carried on.”

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