Emma Raducanu hopes to achieve something she hasn’t achieved since her US Open triumph by reaching the semi-finals of the Korea Open.
The British number one advanced to the quarter-finals in Seoul with a 6-3 7-5 win over Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer, fending off a second-set response from her experienced opponent.
This is the sixth time since Raducanu’s remarkable success in New York that she has won two matches in the same tournament, but so far she has lost her third match each time.
Now the 19-year-old will look to go one step further when she takes on Poland’s Magda Linette on Friday.
Raducanu said: “Of course I really want to push as far as I can this week. I’ve done a few quarters in the last year, but of course I would like to go further.
“I’m happy with the way I’m rebuilding my game and progressing. And trying to prepare as best I can for next year and also just to improve my game and go through the development phase that I kind of missed.
“I think I take challenges pretty well and accept them. It won’t be an easy way back, but it’s no fun if everything comes too easily to you.
Raducanu’s rating has fallen to 77 but, with few points to defend over the next 12 months, she will look to climb back to the top of the game at a more steady pace.
Falling at the first hurdle of her title defense at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu won just one game in Slovenia last week but showed good signs in Korea.
She showed the determination to overcome a fightback from Wickmayer as a 4-1 lead in the second set faded.
Former world number 12 Wickmayer fell to 460 in the rankings after dropping out of the game following the birth of her first child in 2021, but she was a dangerous opponent who grew stronger during the game.
Raducanu dominated the first set and looked in full control with an early break in the second after a long opener.
But Wickmayer started to apply real pressure on Raducanu’s serve and earned his reward with a break in game seven.
The British player, however, dug well, holding her serve afterwards before taking a match point in the 12th game.
Third-seeded Linette faced France’s Kristina Mladenovic in three sets, and Raducanu said: “It’s so important to take one game at a time because Linette is a tough opponent.
“She made the final last week and she’s really experienced. She was many, many years older than me on tour.
At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, former world number one and local favorite Naomi Osaka suffered another setback, who withdrew ahead of her clash against Beatriz Haddad Maia due to illness.