Photo: Martin Sidorjak
In a battle of Ontario-born women of Romanian descent who won the US Open as teenagers making their debuts in Rome, it was Bianca Andreescu advancing on Tuesday after Emma Raducanu retired in the second set of their first-round clash.
The 2019 US Open champion was leading the 2021 winner by a set and a break when the young Brit retired with a back issue with Andreescu up 6-2, 2-1.
Even before Raducanu was forced to retire, the match was one-way traffic for the Canadian who struck 25 winners in just 11 games, while only committing five unforced errors.
Andreescu, who did not face a break point on her own serve and only lost four total points when serving, viciously attacked her opponent at every opportunity, winning 51 percent of her return points and created 11 break points, converting three.
The reigning US Open champion found herself under pressure right from the start, facing seven break points in her first two service games. Raducanu was able to come up big to save the first six, three of them with big serves, but ultimately Andreescu’s persistence paid off as the Brit eventually dumped a forehand into the net to go down a break in the third game.
Andreescu continued to coax errors out of her young opponent while cruising on her own serve. With the exception of the fourth game where she was pushed to deuce while trying to consolidate, the Canadian faced little pressure, losing just one point in her other three service games. The addition of a second break for 4-1 was plenty for Andreescu to take the opening set.
It was a similar start to the second set as the first, with Andreescu applying early pressure before managing to break serve for a 2-1 lead.
At that point Raducanu, who had received a medical timeout near the end of the first set for treatment on her back, called it a day, retiring and sending the Canadian into round two.
In the second round, Andreescu will meet Nuria Parrizas Diaz.