LONDON, Great Britain - Former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska had to save six match points against a spirited challenge from Romanian qualifier Elena-Gabriela Ruse in the first round.
20-year-old Ruse had Radwanska on the ropes - she recovered emphatically from dropping the opening set and held six match points in the third - but the Pole pulled of the escape act to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Radwanska came into Wimbledon fresh off a stellar week at the Nature Valley International, reaching the semifinals at her first tournament back since retiring at Istanbul in April with a back injury.
The second round looked comfortably in Radwanska’s grasp when she opened up a quick 5-0 lead against Ruse, who was playing in the main draw of Wimbledon for the first time in her career. But with her back against the wall, the Romanian dialed up the aggression, swinging freely to deny Radwanska two set points and hold serve.
Saving set point seemed to energize Ruse, who dug deep to turn the tables and pull off a handful Radwanska-worthy hotshots of her own to earn one of the breaks back. She got her name on the scoreboard and reeled off three games in a row, but Radwanska halted her comeback bid to serve out the set on the second time of asking.
The Romanian was undeterred, and carried the momentum into the second set where she dodged three break points and opened up a 3-1 lead. Radwanska managed a late break to halt the youngster at 5-4, but she grabbed the set a game later to carry them into a decider.
With Ruse fully dialled in, Radwanska had to weather a barrage of winners to keep pace with the Romanian. The pair traded breaks to start the third set, and then stayed toe-to-toe for the majority of the contest. Ruse brought up six break points for the match in a rollercoaster tenth game, and Radwanska had to dig deep to stay in the contest.
After seeing all those match points slip away, Ruse wasn’t able to recover in time as Radwanska raced ahead once more, reeling off the last three games in a row to book her place in the second round.
Up next, Radwanska will play Lucie Safarova in the next round after the Czech battled past Kateryna Bondarenko in straight sets earlier in the day.
More to follow...