Raducanu defeats Osorio in the longest straight-set match this year

Defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu is finding her feet again on American soil. She reached the quarterfinals of the Citi Open on Thursday with a tough 7-6(5), 7-6(4) win over Camila Osorio in 2 hours and 50 minutes, the longest straight-set WTA peloton match in 2022.

Here are three takeaways from Raducanu’s victory:

Never count Osorio out… but Raducanu was ready: Osorio’s rise in the rankings over the past year has been marked by a string of unlikely comeback victories and her fighting spirit from behind showed against Raducanu. In both sets, the Colombian dragged herself into the race despite significant deficits.

Raducanu had a point to lead 5-1 in the opener and three break points to earn a 5-2 double break in the second set. But Osorio used the full range of their diversity to steal both by a hair’s breadth. She held two set points at 5-4 in the opener and scored two points after leveling the match at 6-5 in the second set.

Less confident when in front, Osorio assisted Raducanu with double faults on their two set points in the opener. But in both tie-breaks it was Raducanu who shrugged off the loss of their lead to face the situation. After falling 5-3 in the first set tiebreak, the 19-year-old reeled off her best trio of points – a pass, a drop shot and a return winner – to regain control. In the second, remarkable defense at the 5-4 lead elicited an error from Osorio and gave Raducanu a match point, converting it with a service winner.

Winning ugly could be a confidence boost: Conditions in Washington were grueling, with temperatures hovering around 38 degrees and humidity at 62%. Both players required medical time-outs for blisters. Consequently, the statistics sheet was not the prettiest. Raducanu committed 51 unforced errors and Osorio 60.

“Frankly three hours in that condition, I think I probably played at Landisville, Pennsylvania last year and I would say the conditions there were probably worse, but I wasn’t out there for three hours with the length of the rallies I was out there today,” Raducanu said. “In terms of the conditions, it was probably hotter and tougher there, but in terms of the game, I think it has to be one of the most physical games I’ve ever played.”

It was a contrast to Raducanu’s US Open run last year, when her entire game clicked over 10 games in three weeks. However, as the teenager adjusts to the main tour this year, she finds herself at the wrong end of the line after a series of heartbreaking losses from the front, most notably to Petra Martic and Katerina Siniakova in Indian Wells and Miami respectively.

That match could easily have turned into something similar after Raducanu didn’t serve the win at 5-4 in the second set, netting consecutive double faults and a tame forehand. But bracing for the rebound for the tiebreak was another step on her learning curve.

Liudmila Samsonova will be an impressive quarterfinal test: Raducanu’s opponent in the last eight will be Liudmila Samsonova, who defeated Ajla Tomljanovic 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in 2 hours and 14 minutes. They’ve never faced each other.

Highlights: Samsonova d. Tomljanovic

Raducanu’s run this week has put her into her third quarterfinal since winning the US Open, after Cluj-Napoca last October and Stuttgart in April. It would be a significant obstacle to overcome this stage.

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