Emma Raducanu warns Madrid Open rivals she’s ‘herself again’ after refinding US Open form

Emma Raducanu reckons she is playing her best tennis since winning the US Open after reaching the last 16 of the Madrid Masters without dropping her set. And the British No 1, now the highest seed left in her half of the draw, claimed she is feeling like herself again.

The No 9 seed will face world No 37 Anhelina Kalinina on Tuesday as she seeks to win three matches in the same event since her stunning New York triumph last September. Her promising start to her first ever professional clay-court season follows six months of injury problems and poor form as a Grand Slam champion.

And her ecstatic reaction after beating fellow teenager Marta Kostyuk in the second round showed the 19-year-old is feeling back in the old routine. “It definitely meant a lot,” she said. “Because just over the last six months, I’ve definitely gone through a lot of challenges and I feel like now in the recent weeks, I’ve definitely come to terms and have started enjoying the journey.

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“If you lose early, you don’t feel like you’re building any sort of momentum, but I feel like definitely I’ve played a lot of matches so I’m feeling better and making better decisions in matches because I think that’s a big thing when you don’t play for a long time. When you have a lot of matches back to back, certain choices become automatic.”

If Raducanu is gaining momentum like in New York, her draw is opening up just like then. World No 1 Iga Swiatek pulled out after the draw was made and Garbine Muguruza, Maria Sakkari, Danielle Collins and Naomi Osaka have all been knocked out of her half.

Raducanu, who does not have a full-time coach, admitted she had “no idea” about her next opponent Kalinina but added: “I’ll watch her for sure.”

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