It was after take 18 of Helter Skelter that Ringo Starr uttered his famous cry: “I’ve got blisters on my fingers.” It is not recorded how the Beatle overcame this distressing affliction for all manual workers – surgical spirit? Friar’s Balsam? Elastoplast? A potion of Calamine lotion? Meths? There are myriad ‘cures’ for the complaint that may prove useful to Emma Raducanu who grittily came through her second round match against Camila Osorio last night, taking 165 minutes to win 7-6, 7-6, with a palm blain that was straight out of the Exorcist. A cornucopia of treatments ancient and modern but will any work in time?
Tonight, she faces the Russian world No28 Liudmila Samsonova who, had she retained her Italian citizenship, would have been allowed to play at Wimbledon this year, instead of being banned, where she made the fourth round in 2021 as a wildcard, just like Raducanu. She has a formidable serve and is content to stick to the baseline to wear her opponents down with powerful groundstrokes. Ordinarily Raducanu would try to manoeuvre her from side to side before unrolling one of those … ahem … blistering backhand winners but we just don’t know if she will be physically capable of going deep in points, games and sets.
Having said that, she says she takes comfort for surviving yesterday’s ordeal with her sore hand in sweltering heat. “For me it was a pretty monumental effort to really get through that,” Raducanu said on Thursday.
“There were many moments in both sets where you want to go for the easy option of trying to finish the point early, but, yeah, I’m just really pleased and proud of how I dug in when it really mattered.
“It was three hours on the court, and I actually warmed up for like an hour this morning. It just gives you a lot of confidence coming through a match like that.”