British tennis star Emma Raducano won her first match since April after a long injury layoff.
The 2021 US Open winner defeated Elena Gabriella Rus in three sets in the first round of the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Raducanu (21 years old), who fell to 301st in the world rankings, survived an uprising against his Romanian opponent in the qualifiers, advancing 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in two hours and 27 minutes.
The former Britain number one played just nine matches in 2023, being sidelined for eight months after operations on her wrists and ankles.
Raducano will play second seed Elina Svitolina in the round of 16 and said she is “grateful to be able to move my body and not be bedridden or in a wheelchair.”
“It's absolutely amazing to be here and playing. I'm really happy to be back on the tour and I can't wait to start this season and continue playing injury-free and healthy.”
After Raducano won the first set in just 37 minutes, Ross – ranked 134th in the world – fought back to win the second set.
Raducano, who reached No. 10 in the world rankings in July 2022, squandered a 5-2 lead in the final set before advancing.
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“Thank you everyone for coming out and staying up late into the night. I really appreciate the support you have shown throughout,” she said.
“It was a game full of ups and downs and it was always difficult to play against a friend of mine in Gabi. I love being back in Auckland, I'm feeling very happy so far, so thank you and see you in the next round.”
Raducano He was scheduled to return to action last monthbefore withdrawing.
Rafael Nadal, winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, also made a long-awaited return from injury, but lost in his first match since January in doubles at the Brisbane International on Sunday.