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Preview: Emma Raducanu vs. Daria Snigur - prediction, head-to-head and tournament so far

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Nottingham Open second-round match between Emma Raducanu and Daria Snigur, including predictions, head-to-head and their tournament so far.

Fresh from marching to her first grass-court win of the 2024 season, Emma Raducanu returns to play in front of the expectant Nottingham Open crowds on Thursday, taking on Ukraine's Daria Snigur in the second round.

The former British number one survived a late scare against Japan's Ena Shibahara in her opening scrap, while her 22-year-old foe bested compatriot Marta Kostyuk in round one.

Match preview

Emma Raducanu reacts on June 11, 2024© Reuters

Making progress in fits and starts since her full recovery from surgical procedures, Raducanu did not grace Roland-Garros with her presence as she focused on hitting peak physical condition for the grass-court season, a decision that seemed to pay off if Tuesday's result was anything to go by.

Indeed, the 2021 US Open champion posted a 6-1 6-4 win over world number 274 Shibahara in what was her first grass-court contest in a staggering 713 days, although the scoreline was not entirely reflective of the one-hour and 10-minute contest, as Raducanu nearly fell victim to a captivating comeback.

From 5-1 up in the second set with a double break, Raducanu lost serve twice while trying to see out the match and also blasted the umpiring - claiming that she felt as if she was playing "two v one" at times - but she ultimately emerged unscathed as Shibahara also failed to hold when it mattered most.

The 21-year-old could not help but let out an almighty cry of "come on" after Shibahara - whose serve-and-volley style did trouble the Briton at times - sent one last tired forehand into the net, and taking six of the eight break points on offer certainly warranted a Raducanu success.

The Briton also won a staggering 15 of her 19 points behind the Japanese's second serve - underlining her ever-strong returning game - although she now faces a markedly more difficult test against one of the WTA Tour's resident giant killers.

Daria Snigur in action at the Nottingham Open on June 11, 2024© Reuters

Just under two years ago, Ukraine's Daria Snigur exploded with emotion as she pulled off a gargantuan upset of Simona Halep at the 2022 US Open - the first top-level win of her fledgling career - since when she has made a habit of defying the odds.

The 22-year-old eliminated defending champion Beatriz Haddad Maia from the 2023 Nottingham Open and continued her penchant for upsets against fellow Ukrainian Kostyuk in round one this time around, earning a praiseworthy 6-3 6-3 success against a player ranked 110 places higher than her.

Also demonstrating returning excellence behind the Kostyuk second serve - winning 70% of such points on the afternoon - Snigur was broken just once throughout the course of the match, immediately losing serve in the second set before emphatically fighting back.

While defeating three top-20 players can be described as making waves on the WTA Tour, Snigur is yet to truly make her mark with a deep tournament run, only making her debut at the Australian Open in January, and a first main-draw appearance at Wimbledon still eludes her.

However, the Ukrainian has already taken home two ITF W50 titles over the past couple of months - triumphing in Calvi and the Lopota 2 in Georgia - and a quarter-final showdown with either GB's Francesca Jones or the USA's Ashlyn Krueger will be the prize if she can add Raducanu to her growing list of scalps.

Tournament so far

Emma Raducanu:

First round: vs. Ena Shibahara 6-1 6-4

Daria Snigur:

First round: vs. Marta Kostyuk 6-3 6-3

Head To Head

Thursday's contest will represent the maiden top-level match between Raducanu and Snigur, who both play right-handed and stack up well physically, although the British favourite is marginally taller at 5ft 9in.

While Raducanu has won 10 and lost seven of her 17 contests this year for a success rate of 58.8%, Snigur's exploits at ITF level means that the Ukrainian comes into the second-round tie boasting a superior win percentage of 71.9%, triumphing in 23 of her 32 matches in the 2024 season.

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We say: Raducanu to win in three sets

A fascinating returning battle is set to materialise between a fired-up Raducanu relishing being back on the grass and an equally energised Snigur, who is no stranger to stunning the big names on the WTA Tour.

Raducanu's last-gasp scare against Shibahara was a sign of some frailties from the former major winner, but even if Snigur can momentarily capitalise, the Briton is moving well across the court and should harness her power from both wings to make it to the last eight.

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Emma Raducanu reacts on June 11, 2024
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