Emma Raducanu admitted it felt “really good” to chalk up her first win of the North American hard court season, beating Louisa Chirico 6-4 6-2 at the Citi Open in Washington.
The US Open champion started her DC debut slowly but came to terms with humid conditions and pulled out some impressive ground strokes on the way to victory in 87 minutes.
American qualifier Chirico came undone with 42 unforced errors to Raducanu’s 18, while the British world number 10 won 76 per cent of her first and second serves.
Second seed Raducanu broke Chirico’s serve to take a 3-2 lead in the second set and closed out the match from there.
Raducanu, who will face Camila Osorio in the second round, was satisfied with her win.
“It definitely feels really good to get a win here in D.C.,” she said in her post-match press conference.
“After not playing for quite a bit after Wimbledon or many matches at all this year, I think it’s a really nice feeling just to get on the board.
“I think playing any first round is always pretty challenging. Then when you’re not necessarily that match-sharp, small things you don’t necessarily get right. It’s just important to stay calm.”
Raducanu’s singles win came one day after her professional doubles debut alongside fellow teenager Clara Tauson ended with a straight-sets loss in the US capital.
Evans dominates Edmund in British clash
Earlier Dan Evans secured his place in the third round with a straight-sets victory over fellow Briton Kyle Edmund.
The 32-year-old 16th seed made short work of dispensing with an opponent working his way back from a lengthy injury lay-off to win 6-1 6-2 in a little more than an hour in Washington.
He will now face either America’s Taylor Fritz or Australian Alexei Popyrin in the next round while Edmund reflects on his return to singles action after 20 months out following three knee operations.
Speaking on court afterwards, Evans said: “My focus was very good. I had a bit of a blip at the end, but I thought I didn’t do much wrong. He hit, I think, three winners.
“I’m just really happy to be going still. It’s always nice to start a new swing off with a win and it’s nice to be through to the third round.”
Evans took just 22 minutes to claim the first set for the loss of a single game as he capitalised on a series of errors by a rusty Edmund.
He broke to 15 in the opening game and repeated the feat in the fifth and seventh, with unforced errors costing the former British number one dearly.
Edmund, 27, held serve with an ace to level the second set at 1-1, but again errors proved costly as Evans raced into a 4-1 lead with a near-faultless display.
He broke again to serve for the match as Edmund’s first serve deserted him, but was pegged back immediately after his opponent produced a fine forehand return and then an exquisite drop-shot to earn his chance.
However, the respite proved temporary with Evans clinching victory in 62 minutes at the second time of asking.
Top seed Andrey Rublev eased through courtesy of a 6-4 6-2 win over Briton Jack Draper.
The 24-year-old had to remain patient in a tight first set as six break points came and went before he converted the seventh to take a 5-4 lead, and he duly obliged on serve to cement his advantage.
A forehand error from the 20-year-old handed Rublev a second-set break and a 2-1 lead and although he had to save two break points in the next game, he managed to see out a comfortable victory.
Kyrgios wins on singles return
Nick Kyrgios beat American Marcos Giron on Tuesday, the Australian’s first singles match since reaching the Wimbledon final.
Less than a month since reaching his first Grand Slam final before losing to Novak Djokovic, Kyrgios defeated Giron 6-2, 6-3.
“That was like the golden opportunity I felt for me,” Kyrgios said of Wimbledon. “There are so many things I would have done differently I think now that I have digested that match, but I’m doing all the right things to put myself in that position again. I think I’m doing that, and my whole team is helping me achieve that goal.”
Following a tradition he started when he won this hard-court tune-up for the U.S. Open in 2019, he asked a fan where he should serve for match point and moved on to face Tommy Paul in the round of 32.
“I wish I had that experience when I was watching tennis matches,” Kyrgios said. “I think it’s just a cool experience for someone that’s paid money to come watch you play and potentially to go home with that memory.”
Kyrgios is trying to move past the memory of losing to Djokovic at Wimbledon and bowing out in the first round of the Citi Open a year ago. It helps that he thinks he’s playing some of the best tennis of his career.
“I’m having a great year,” he said. “I think if Wimbledon had points, I think I’d be around top 15, top 20 in the world. I definitely feel like I’m playing that level of tennis – if not top 10, top five at the moment.”