Winning tennis matches hasn’t been Emma Radukanu’s only concern lately – staying injury-free has been tough for the British star.
The 20-year-old has suffered a string of injuries over the past 18 months, dashing her hopes of success in court.
But Radukanu’s run at Indian Wells showed glimpses of the form that will lead to her 2021 grand slam success as she defeated No. 13 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia in three sets, 6-1 2, on Monday to reach the last 16 of Indian Wells. 6 6-4.
In doing so, Radukanu advanced to the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in his career, as well as his second three straight wins since winning the US Open in September 2021.
Radukanu last won three in a row at the 2022 WTA 250 in Seoul, South Korea, when she was forced to withdraw once again in the semifinals against Jelena Ostapenko due to injury.
After defeating Brazilian Haddad Maia – Raducanu’s highest-ranked scalp since her US Open victory two years ago – the British analysis suggested she had “played at a very high level at certain points in the match”.
“I think I played very well in the first set and the third set,” Radukanu told reporters. “There were mostly good points and moments. I think the overall level went up in the third and it was a battle for both of us.”
As well as the wrist injury that hampered last season, Radukanu suffered an ankle injury before the Australian Open earlier this year, and tonsillitis forced him to withdraw from the Austin Open last month.
Radukanu admitted she was still “not in pain” after defeating world No. 21 Magda Lynette in the last round at Indian Wells.
However, Radukanu had a flying start against Haddad Maia, breaking her twice in the first set.
The 26-year-old Brazilian showed her resolve – and why she won her second match at the WTA last year – by beating Radukanu twice in the second set to level the match.
In a nail-biting final set, Radukanu showed plenty of energy to snap a six-game losing streak against a top-20 opponent.
The three-time Grand Slam winner will now face world No.1 Iga Švitek in the next round after continuing her impressive run of form with a straight sets win over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in 2023.