Emma Raducanu hopes to achieve something she hasn’t since her US Open triumph, reaching the semifinals of the Korea Open.
The British number one advanced to the quarter-finals in Seoul with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, repelling a second-set comeback 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 on each occasion.
Now, the 19-year-old will be looking to go further when she takes on pole position Magda Linette on Friday.
Raducanu said: “Of course I really want to go as far as I can this week. I won a few quarters last year, but of course I’d love to go further.
“I’m happy with the way I’m building my game back and progressing. And trying to prepare as best I can for next year and also just improve my game and get through the development phase that I kind of missed.
“I think I’m facing the challenges very well and accepting them. It won’t be an easy way back, but it’s no fun if everything comes to you too easy.”
Raducanu’s rating has dropped to 77, but with few points to defend over the next 12 months, she will be looking to get back to the top of the game at a firmer pace.
Having fallen at the first hurdle in his title defense at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu only won one match in Slovenia last week but showed good signs in Korea.
She showed the determination needed to overcome a comeback from Wickmayer when the 4-1 lead in the second set waned.
Former world number 12 Wickmayer dropped to 460 in the rankings after pulling out of the game following the birth of her first child in 2021, but was a dangerous opponent who grew stronger during the match.
Raducanu dominated the first set and appeared to have full control with a break early in the second after a long first game.
But Wickmayer started putting real pressure on Raducanu’s serve and got his reward with a seventh game break.
The British player dug well, though, holding her serve after that before earning a match point in the 12th game.
Third seed Linette battled France’s Kristina Mladenovic in three sets, and Raducanu said: “It’s very important to take one game at a time because Linette is a challenging opponent.
“She reached the final last week and is very experienced. She’s had many, many more years on tour than I have.”
At the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, there was another setback for former world number one and home favourite, Naomi Osaka, who withdrew before her clash with Beatriz Haddad Maia through illness.