British Stars Enjoy Positive Start To Madrid Open

Emma Raducanu, Jack Draper, Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray have all overcome their first tests
10:33, 03 May 2022

It has been a fine start for British talent in the Madrid Open this week with Emma Raducanu, Dan Evans, Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper all overcoming their first tests in the Spanish capital.

The trio of Brits are looking to end a hoodoo that has surrounded the performance of UK-based players on the clay courts. In the past, it has usually been the part of the Tour season one to get the better of Britons with there being such a lack of success in the past. World No. 11 Raducanu has surprisingly had a positive start to life on the clay courts, boasting five wins from seven matches on the surface - her first experience on clay and it’s fair to say that she has adapted quickly.

After announcing her split with coach Torben Beltz last week, Raducanu has continued to impress in her first season on clay court and she is already made it to the Round of 16 at the Madrid Open after beating Tereza Martincova 7 (7) - 6 (3), 6-0 and Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-1. After defeating the Ukrainian last time out, she will be facing Kostyuk’s compatriot Anhelina Kalinina on Wednesday.

Everyone in the world of tennis will be familiar with the US Open champion’s name but they may still not be familiar with Draper who has also looked impressive out on the clay court. The 20-year-old has been having a fine season in 2022 so far having won four ATP Challenger titles, already showing signs that he will be a great ambassador for British tennis in the years to come, alongside 19-year-old Raducanu.

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He turned in a commanding performance on Sunday against accomplished clay-courter, world No. 27 Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 6-3. The left-hander who was a wildcard for this event will face another tough test against world No. 8 Andrey Rublev on Tuesday. He may have gotten into two Masters events as a wildcard over the last couple of months due to his management company owning the Miami and Madrid events, but he has more than justified his selection at both. 

He is an enjoyable player to watch and he is only going to keep improving and if he can take to the clay court like he has with the hard court this year, then he could develop into an unstoppable force as his career progresses. For now at least, the world No. 121 will be looking to break into the top 100.

Birmingham-born Evans turned in an exquisite performance against Argentine Federico Delbonis, beating him 6-3, 6-4. Considering it was only his second clay court win of the season made it that much more impressive. British No. 1 Cameron Norrie overcame his first opponent, Kwon Soon-woo, defeating the South Korean 7-5, 7-5. Norrie will face American John Isner on Wednesday. 

Veteran and former world No. 1 Andy Murray rolled back the years as he defeated Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4. It was Murray’s first win on clay since June 2017, so this result will be great for his confidence for the rest of the clay season. He will be wary of his next opponent, Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Murray at Wimbledon last year, so the 34-year-old will be eager to get one over on the Canadian.

When you think about how the clay season has always been a danger zone for British players over the years, it has been relieving to see this current crop enjoying themselves on the surface while also displaying some exceptional tennis. Here’s hoping they can all go far in Madrid.

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