Raducanu 2-3 Van Uytvanck* (*indicates server)
Van Uytvanck is sticking to 30. She looks great on her backhand. No wonder Raducanu hits deep in her forehand, which is enough for a few points, but no more.
Raducanu* 2-2 Van Uytvanck (*indicates server)
Raducanu has had a great reception, but now the ‘Come on Emma!’ seriously cries when she nails her first ace, which challenged her opponent. It was just kissing the limit, yet legal. Van Uytvanck’s backhand is very dangerous and sets up a volley winner at the net after smoking a backhand with a wicket slice to make it 40-30. No sweat though, as Raducanu hits a serve that kicks and her opponent can’t get it back to her side of the net.
Raducanu 1-2 Van Uytvanck* (*indicates server)
After two marathon games, Van Uytvanck closes the hold to love in just over a minute. A beautiful backhand winner shows how formidable an opponent she is on the court.
Raducanu* 1-1 Van Uytvanck (*indicates server)
Raducanu recovers from love-15 to 30-15 when Van Uytvanck makes mistakes on both sides. Raducanu gets a lot of height on her topspun forehands. Wouldn’t she be happier if they were closer to the band? A double fault brings it to 30-all, but Raducanu sends a backhand to Van Uytvanck’s forehand and she can’t handle the force. A big, risky forehand winner comes out in front of Van Uytvanck to tie it up at deuce and then she has a breaking point when Raducanu hooks a backhand wide.
Raducanu defends the breaking point, Van Uytvanck cuts a drop shot into the net and then moves to his own playing point with a forehand on a crosscourt. But she cannot handle Van Uytvanck’s strong forehand and is reduced to deuce.
A cute drop shot to take advantage is followed by a couple of forehand errors and now it’s Van Uytvanck’s advantage. Can she take it and break it? Not this one, she opens a crosscourt with two fists backhand wide. But she gets another chance after a drop volleyball winner. Raducanu defends it with a blistering backhand. We go beyond 10 minutes on the game clock for the return to deuce. And this time she closes the hold by forcing Van Uytvanck deep and then forcing her to make 10 yards to get to the net and she can’t get there.
Raducanu 0-1 Van Uytvanck* (*indicates server)
Van Uytvanck won the toss and served first, moved to 15-love with a serve volley approach and doubled her lead when Raducanu framed a forehand from the center mark. Huge cheers greet Raducanu who wins the next two points on her forehand, provoking errors from Van Uytvanck’s own forehand. Slow start but good, Raducanu’s aggression pays off as she climbs into Van Uytvanck’s second serve to tug-of-war on a cross-court winner. Breaking point – well defended by the Belgian.
She earns a second breakpoint when Van Uytvanck drags a forehand wide, but she can’t drop a shot at her feet to win the game and it returns to deuce when she chops it wide into the tramlines. Two steps forward, two steps back. AVU moves to advantage and back to deuce, then fires an ace in to move in favor again and digs deep to hold when Raducana chops her forehand back into the net.
Raducanu and Van Uytvanck are on the track
Tracy Austin says she doesn’t envy Raducanu, that she has the weight of expectation on her shoulders, and that she is putting even more pressure on herself. Tim Henman says she’s losing matches because she hasn’t had time to build up her resilience and physicality as she’s only been out of school for a year. “It’s not her tennis, it’s her physicality that causes her problems.” It takes time to do that and with her injuries and Covid she just hasn’t been able to keep going this year.
John McEnroe makes his BBC tournament debut
For the Raducanu match. At the moment he is joshing Sue Barker on her decision to retire after this year’s championship, both he and Tim Henman used to say ‘if she goes, we go’. Goodbye one, goodbye all.
Novak Djokovic through to second round
After beating Kwan Soon-woo 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The roof opens and Emma Raducanu is on the track for the next few minutes.
Welcome to coverage of the first women’s singles match of the 2022 Championships to be held at Center Court. Emma Raducanu, the No. 10 seed, who, if you hadn’t heard, is the US Open champion, will take on Alison van Uytvanck, a hardcourt specialist and world No46 from Belgium.
This season, Raducanu has had blisters on all fours, a leg injury, a side strain and a back problem, all of which have contributed to retirements and defeats. There will of course be a huge outpouring of goodwill and affection for her at Wimbledon, where she’s playing for the first time since last year’s retirement from her fourth round match, but also a lot of concerns about her physical endurance. There will also be many onlookers hoping that her struggle will cement their self-image as the little boy in the emperor’s new clothes, boasting in glee and neglecting the fact that she’s 19.
Van Uytvanck had previously disrupted the chances, knocking out defending champion Garbine Muguruza, a win that inspired ‘The Kiss’† Making the second week for the first time, she left after a fourth round defeat to Daria Kasatkina. Van Uytvanck had a bad draw last year when she took on Elina Svitolina in the first round, but she took the second set of the number 3 seed and ran close to her. Raducanu certainly sees her as a serious threat: “She is a real tough opponent, especially on grass courts. I think this background definitely suits her well. She plays a fairly fast, high tempo game. It will certainly take some getting used to to be prepared for that right away. It’s going to be a tough matchup for sure, but every match is at this level. I’m still ready to go.”
As for Raducanu, she only feels positive vibes from the workout. “This year I get such a special feeling when I walk around the terrain,” she said. “I definitely feel like people are behind me. Even some of the people who work on the tournament say, ‘You’ve got this’. I’m just encouraging. That in itself is quite special.
“I feel like I came straight out of my exams last year, I was fresh, ready to play. I feel the same excitement this year because I think Wimbledon takes that out of me most of all. But I’m definitely looking forward to it.” I’m just going to play like a kid who loves tennis, it’s always been my dream to be on Center Court, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and started playing tennis for.
“I take every feeling as positive. I think people will get behind me and encourage me. There’s nothing negative about that. They want you to do well. I’m looking forward to going out and doing that experience and feel that.”