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in the second set to beat Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova in straight sets, levelling the scores at 1-1 for GB in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers. GB must win the best-of-five encounter to qualify for the finals in November.

Emma Raducanu beat Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5 on her professional clay-court debut in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers.

Raducanu won the big points to edge her gutsy opponent and level the scores at 1-1 as Great Britain look to overcome Czech Republic to qualify for November’s main draw.

Harriet Dart had earlier lost 6-1 6-0 to Marketa Vondrousova, but Raducanu drew the nation level in her first match representing GB.

“This one means so much to me because it is my first match in the Billie Jean King Cup and representing the team in my first match on clay,” said Raducanu.

“We’re still in this battle and it’s all to play for tomorrow.
“The team had my back 100% as we had Harriet’s back this morning.

It is amazing to be in team event in an individual sport and I’m cherishing the matches this week.

“In the beginning of the second set I went a bit flat and everyone in team said the intensity had dropped. It is difficult to regain that but glad I did in the end.”

Raducanu bounced back brilliantly from a break down in the first set, breaking back on her way to three games in a row.

The second was similarly tight as Martincova broke early again as Raducanu doubled-faulted and sent an easy forehand into the net.
The Czech then made it 3-0 with another break, leaving Raducanu on the ropes and looking bereft of confidence at the net with 11 errors inside the opening three games.

But Raducanu rallied and forced an immediate break back point, kindly gifted by Martincova with a double fault of her own.
The double break was restored by Martincova thanks to some big hitting, but Raducanu reduced the deficit again with a marvellous backhand winner.

This time the US Open champion held serve and once again broke her opponent to restore parity with an ace and a forehand down the line.

Raducanu put in a gusty shift to go 5-4 up before Martincova levelled at 5-5.

But the 19-year-old Brit held to love before fighting back from 40-0 with five points on the spin to break the Czech once again, taking her first professional win on clay in the process and drawing GB level.

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