Jessica Pegula praised Emma Raducanu for her performances at the 2022 Cincinnati Open following their Round of 16 clash on Thursday. Pegula ended Raducanu's impressive run with a 7-5, 6-4 win to advance to her fourth WTA 1000 quarterfinal of the season.
Raducanu, in her Western & Southern Open debut, has had a memorable campaign. She registered two impressive, dominant wins in less than 24 hours, beating Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0 and then accounting for Victoria Azarenka with a 6-0, 6-2 victory.
Speaking at her post-match press conference, Pegula praised Raducanu for the manner in which she beat Williams and Azarenka, both former World No. 1's.
“I mean, having to beat Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka is not easy, even no matter how they played or Serena hasn't been doing as well, whatever. I think handling the moment like that is really difficult,” she said.
“For her, I mean, she's already had success, but, yeah, for her to handle that, I think it's really hard no matter what. I don't care what you say or how you are playing or whatever. To beat both of those girls back to back is tough. And bageling them as well,” she added.
The World No. 8 also said that the Brit has put her struggles behind her and is playing much better now, which was also why she was a little nervous heading into the match.
“I thought she was probably playing better maybe the last couple of weeks than she maybe was earlier in the year. Yeah, and the courts are a little faster maybe, which I think also suits her. I think it definitely said something coming into this match, and maybe that's why I was a little extra nervous,” she stated.
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“I'm swinging with the same sort of freedom as I probably had last year, I'm heading in a good direction again” - Emma Raducanu remains upbeat despite Cincinnati Open exit
Emma Raducanu entered the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with the majority of fans and pundits doubting her credentials. She was widely written off, with many also expecting her to stumble early in her title defense at the US Open later this month.
The 19-year-old, however, reminded everyone of her prowess by schooling Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, and doing so with just 16 hours between both matches.
Speaking at her post-match press conference, the British teenager said that she is playing freely once again and that she is a lot more accepting of her mistakes now.
“The biggest thing, however, is me swinging like playing completely free again, not really pushing the ball just to get it in, like I actually am going in for the shot. Way more accepting of the errors that I make,” Emma Raducanu said.
She added that she is heading in the right direction as the season moves to New York for the final Grand Slam of the year.
“I think that it is definitely relieving because I feel like I'm swinging with the same sort of freedom as I probably had, more similar to last year. So it feels really good. I think that I can really take it as a positive week, and I actually feel like I'm heading in a good direction again,” she said.