Australia's Daria Saville overcame a tough physical battle to advance to the second round at the Abierto Akron Zapopan after reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu was forced to retire at 5-7, 7-6(4), 4-3 due to a left hip injury. The match lasted 3 hours and 36 minutes, setting the mark for the longest WTA match of the season.
Prior to Saville's win, the longest match of 2022 lasted 3 hours and 9 minutes and was won by Danka Kovinic over Jang Su-Jeong 6-3 2-6 6-4 at the Australian Open.
"This is probably the first match in a long time when I felt like I was being myself," Saville said after the win. "I was being feisty Dasha. I just want to keep on working and keep on going here."
Raducanu and Saville both came into Tuesday night's match in search of match-play but neither could have imagined it would come in bulk. Saville, who reached a career-high of No.20 in 2017, is working her way back up the rankings after undergoing surgery on her achilles tendon last year. Now ranked No.610, the 27-year-old Australian was looking to earn her first main draw win at a tour-level event since the 2021 Australian Open.
Raducanu was playing her first match since a hand blister left her hampered in a three-set loss to Danka Kovinic in the second round of the Australian Open.
The match was a grueling tug-of-war from the outset. Neither woman was able to build enough momentum to hold on to much of a lead. Raducanu took the first set after 80 minutes, coming back from an early break before breaking Saville in the ultimate game of the set to take it 7-5.
Saville struck back in a similar fashion in the second set. Raducanu served for the match 5-3 but Saville's trademark feistiness put a halt to the 19-year-old Brit's hopes of closing out the win in straight sets. After breaking Raducanu and forcing a tiebreak, Saville played a clean tiebreak to close out the 80-minute second set.
Having battled for over 2 hours and 40 minutes, both women fought off physical woes in the deciding set. After falling behind 2-0, Saville fought through leg cramps to hold serve to get on the board. Building on her momentum, Saville led 3-2 before Raducanu took an off-court medical timeout and returned to court with her upper left leg taped.
Clearly hampered in her movement, Raducanu bravely played two more games before making the decision to retire down a break at 4-3.
Saville will face American qualifier Caroline Dolehide in the second round.
More notable results from Day 2 in Guadalajara:
- Defending champion and No.3 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo opened her campaign with a 6-4, 6-1 win over American wildcard Katie Volynets in 2 hours and 6 minutes.
- No.4 seed Camila Osorio earned her first win of the season, defeating Viktoriya Tomova 6-4, 6-3. The Colombian will face American qualifier Hailey Baptiste in the second round.