EMMA RADUCANU’s first tango in Paris proved to be a triumph as she bounced out a brilliant Czech from the French Open.
The Brit’s debut appearance in the main draw of this clay-court Slam proved to be an extremely tough assignment over the course of more than two-and-a-half hours.
Exhausting all her physical energy and mental reserve, the US Open champion had to come from behind to knock out 17-year-old Linda Noskova 6-7 7-5 6-1.
Even though Noskova is two years the junior, ranked at 184th in the world and does not have the same level of major experience as Raducanu, this was considered by many experts to be a banana skin for the Brit.
And so it proved as Raducanu appeared to lose focus and concentration when rain fell during the latter stages of the first set.
The Kent ace lost the first set on a tie-break despite being 4-2 up and looking like she was in total control.
When heavy rain hit the court and umbrellas starting going up in the stands, Raducanu complained to the umpire about the potentially slippery conditions.
Those concerns were ignored by the official and the match carried on as the weather improved and the rain clouds disappeared overhead.
Despite her relatively young age, Noskova has pedigree on the dirt – she won the Roland Garros junior tournament in 2021 – and hits the ball wonderfully well, particularly on the backhand.
Yet No.12 seed Raducanu avoided a potential upset and asserted her dominance in the third set.
The 19-year-old will now play Belarussian Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round on Wednesday.
Raducanu withdrew from her last match in Rome with lower back pain but there were no signs of physical problems this time – and for once the trainer was not required.