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‘Feisty’ Saville beats US Open champion Raducanu in Mexico

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Australia’s Daria Saville has outlasted reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu in an uncompromising first-round contest at the WTA tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In a match lasting three hours and 36 minutes, Saville wore down Raducanu to the point where the number one seed was forced to retire at 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 4-3.

It was the longest match so far this WTA season.

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“This is probably the first match in a long time when I felt like I was being myself,” Saville said.

Saville, who reached a career-high of number 20 in 2017, is on her way back up the rankings after surgery on her Achilles tendon.

The 27-year-old is now ranked 610 as she celebrates her first main-draw win at a tour-level event since the 2021 Australian Open.

Raducanu was playing her first match since a hand blister left her hampered in a three-set loss to Danka Kovinic in the second round of the Australian Open.

The Briton took the first set after 80 minutes, coming back from an early break before Saville struck back in a similar fashion in the second set.

Raducanu served for the match 5-3 but Saville’s trademark grittiness emerged to force a tiebreak before closing out another 80-minute set.

Having battled for more than two hours and 40 minutes, both players warded off physical distress in the deciding set.

After falling behind 2-0, Saville fought through leg cramps to hold serve to get on the board.

And she parlayed that momentum into a 3-2 lead before Raducanu took an off-court medical timeout.

Raducanu returned to the court with her upper left leg taped and bravely played two more games before making the decision to retire down a break at 4-3.

Saville will face American qualifier Caroline Dolehide in the second round.

AAP

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