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Billie Jean King Cup: Emma Raducanu’s loses after blister issues; Harriet Dart keeps tie alive | Tennis News

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Emma Raducanu needed treatment at the end of the first set; she has been suffering from issues with her feet due to the demands of clay courts; Harriet Dart’s victory in the fourth singles rubber kept Great Britain alive in the Billie Jean King Cup tie; the doubles will decide the contest

Last Updated: 16/04/22 2:59pm

Emma Raducanu struggled from early on in the contest

Emma Raducanu suffered significant blister issues on her right foot, which led to a 6-1 6-1 loss against Marketa Vondrousova in Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup tie against Czech Republic.

The defeat meant Great Britain went 2-1 down in the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier, before Harriet Dart had a gruelling match against 16-year-old debutant Linda Fruhvirtova.

The British No 2 eventually won the two-hour contest 6-0 5-7 6-2 to send the overall tie to a doubles decider.

Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier ties are best-of-five matches and the winner will take a place in November’s finals.

Czech Republic vs Great Britain – Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier

Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-0 Harriet Dart
Tereza Martincova 5-7 5-7 Emma Raducanu
Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-1 Emma Raducanu
Linda Fruhvirtova 0-6 7-5 2-6 Harriet Dart

Blister issues for Raducanu vs Vondrousova

Raducanu made her debut in the competition on Friday and was victorious in her first professional match on clay as she beat Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5, but Saturday’s contest was a different story for the 19-year-old.

In extremely cold conditions, Raducanu struggled from early on and lost the first set in just 26 minutes. Tmedical timeout between sets to receive treatment on her right foot did little to ease her issues.

The British No 1 was barely able to move for several balls in the second set, wincing and limping between points.

Vondrousova, who is ranked 32 but has the potential to go a lot higher, showed her love for clay-court tennis and prowess throughout the contest.

She secured the first set after only 25 minutes and throughout used a lethal combination of power and precise drop-shots to give Raducanu no way back, given her physical issues.

Raducanu said of the blister: “It kind of showed up after yesterday’s match. We’ve been managing it but as you saw I couldn’t really move or load either way and now it’s just about trying to get it better as soon as possible.

“It completely stopped me from moving. It’s tough not to be even able to chase the ball. Even if a ball came around me, I was struggling to get my feet out of the way.

“It was compromising every shot I had to play. It’s very disappointing when you’re out there playing a rubber for your country and you feel completely redundant.”

Raducanu speaks with Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong

Raducanu speaks with Great Britain captain Anne Keothavong

It is the latest in a series of physical issues for Raducanu and she admitted her frustration, saying: “This has happened quite a few times now and we need to nip it in the bud.

“Of course it’s frustrating but in some sort of twisted way it gives me a sense of confidence and relief that I don’t think it’s my tennis that’s the issue. I think my tennis level is pretty good it’s just about being able to repeat it or maintain it and not be hampered by any sort of physical issues.”

Keothavong: Team scarred by Raducanu toes

During the draw ceremony for this tie in Prague, Great Britain’s team captain Anne Keothavong and Raducanu provided insights into the physical effects a clay court can have on an athlete.

Raducanu, who is at the start of the first clay-court swing of her professional career, has acutely felt the surface’s impact.

“I have no toenails,” the British No 1 said. “Just my foot, my shoes, they’ve just been sliding around a lot. I had a small niggle in Miami, but now I have no physical thing.”

Keothavong then joked: “We’re all a little scarred by Emma’s toes.”

Before her loss to Vondrousova, Raducanu had spoken positively about her prospects on the surface.

The teenager said: “I genuinely believe that clay could be one of my strongest surfaces because of the moving aspect. I do like moving.

“I feel like I have a lot more potential physically. And I do enjoy sliding. After spending more time on this surface, I’m sure I’ll time it better and learn more about the surface.”

Harriet Dart was pushed hard by her 16-year-old opponent

Harriet Dart was pushed hard by her 16-year-old opponent

Dart overcomes nerves to send tie to decider

Dart opened the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifier on Friday against Vondrousova and had a humbling day on court, losing 6-1 6-0.

The Brit recently broke into the top 100 after reaching the fourth round at Indian Wells but struggled against the Czech player’s tactics and form.

On Saturday, Dart entered the court knowing she had to win to keep Britain in the tie. Surprisingly, the Czech team captain selected Fruhvirtova to face Dart and make her debut in the competition.

The 16-year-old became the youngest Czech player to compete in the competition, but instantly struggled as Dart showed her experience.

Dart raced through the first set as she won it 6-0 and went 5-2 up in the second, before Fruhvirtova found her feet.

Fruhvirtova continued to increase the pressure on the British No 2 and rattle her nerves. Dart started to drop her first serve percentage and miss key shots across the court.

As Fruhvirtova grew in confidence, and the home crowd got behind her. Fruhvirtova prevented Dart from serving out the match multiple times and saved two match points, en route to taking the second set 7-5.

After a pause between sets, Dart stepped back onto court with a renewed level of focus and composure. She put her foot back on the gas, refound her range and pressed over the line to keep Great Britain in the contest.

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