Wimbledon 2024: Emma Raducanu breezes into third-round after Elise Mertens win

Raducanu reached the third round (AFP via Getty Images)
Raducanu reached the third round (AFP via Getty Images)

On the court where Emma Raducanu breathlessly exited her first Wimbledon, she breezed into the third round against Elise Mertens on Wednesday.

Any suggestions there might be ghosts on No1 Court from her mid-match withdrawal to Ajla Tomljanovic on debut in 2021 when she suffered breathing difficulties were quickly eroded as she raced to a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

And Raducanu didn’t necessarily have to do anything particularly prolific to win in an hour and a quarter.

She was solid throughout while her opponent, a former grand slam semi-finalist and twice into the fourth round here, struggled to make anything work across the two sets.

Raducanu had already made the headlines earlier in the day without stepping on court after it was revealed she would be playing mixed doubles in a star-studded pairing with Andy Murray after he sent her a late-night message asking her to double up.

Quite whether the prospect of that put an additional spring in her step is unclear but she dropped her opening two points and then promptly dominated the rest of the set and the match.

The 22-year-old was the aggressor throughout, unfazed when the occasional groundstroke from the back of the court went waywardly long.

Mertens had her chance after she was broken in her first service game with a break point in the next game but could not convert it, and from there her rival disappeared into the distance.

It was a routine win for Raducanu (AFP via Getty Images)
It was a routine win for Raducanu (AFP via Getty Images)

She finally held serve for the first time in game six at the third time of asking but, by then, the second set was already a formality.

Mertens’ opening service game of the second set saw her drop to 0-40 and, while she saved all three break points, she could not as Raducanu conjured up a fourth. From there, the Briton dropped just two games to wrap up the most comfortable of wins.

Meanwhile, the Belgian will have further opportunities at the All England Club as the No1 ranked women’s doubles player.

Raducanu will get her doubles opportunity too, albeit in the mixed. Of the invite from Murray, she said: “My doubles record isn’t the longest but I couldn’t say no.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Andy is a hero to all of us. It’s a gift and honour he asked me. Hopefully I’ll learn a thing or two like coming to the net.”