Tennis-Raducanu battles past Hercog to secure first WTA Tour victory

(Reuters) – U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu had to work hard for her first win on the WTA Tour after her fairytale New York triumph as she recovered from a set down to beat world number 124 Polona Hercog 4-6 7-5 6-1 in the Transylvania Open in Romania on Tuesday.

Raducanu announced herself on the grandest stage when she claimed the Flushing Meadows title as a qualifier last month, but the 18-year-old Briton lost to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in straight sets at Indian Wells.

Still without a coach after parting ways with former Davis Cup player Andrew Richardson and having skipped the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, world number 23 Raducanu had sought to temper the expectations but showed her class in a difficult match.

She surrendered the opening set tamely after being 4-1 up before showing glimpses of the fighting character that marked her maiden major success to draw level at one-set apiece.

With the momentum going her way, Raducanu raised her level by a notch and roared to 5-0 in the deciding set, winning 77% of her first serve points to close out the victory in Cluj-Napoca.

Raducanu will next take on home favourite Ana Bogdan.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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