IN the land of Count Dracula, Emma Raducanu finally drew blood at WTA Tour level and screamed: That was a huge win.
A first-round clash at the Transylvanian Open was never going to be as significant as her heroics at the US Open or even Wimbledon this summer.
But it will be forever remembered as a personal milestone in the career of this 18-year-old sensation from Kent.
Despite falling a set behind, Raducanu responded brilliantly, showed off her fighting qualities over two hours and 27 minutes and sunk her teeth into Slovenian Polona Hercog in a 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory.
It is her first win since last month’s New York fairy tale and first success at this standard of competition.
And, after steam-rolling all before her at Flushing Meadows, this was also the youngster FIRST-EVER three set match at our level.
A beaming Raducanu said: “I feel really happy to win that match. It means a lot.
“It was very difficult. I wasn’t playing my best tennis. I had to fight hard to pull through.
“To play that long on an indoor hard court – I think that’s quite impressive!
“It feels like a huge win. The key was to try and stay mentally composed. I’m really proud of myself of how I fought.
“Maybe I do have a target on my back. But even if there’s pressure, the only pressure is from myself. You learn to deal with it. And I actually enjoy playing under some form of adrenaline.
“From all of the matches I’m playing, I’m gaining more experience and that one will play a huge part.”
Romanian tournament chiefs have used their most famous fictional figure – an undead, centuries-old vampire – as the marketing tool on posters and billboards.
And while it is a shame Covid rules have prevented a crowd being present, at least Raducanu could play in front of her dad Ian for the first time since the run to the Wimbledon last-16.
The world No.23 raced into a 4-1 lead and was looking comfortable until the seventh game when she was broken.
Hercog, 30, who is 124th on the WTA rankings, won five games in a row to take the first set and was threatening a major upset.
Yet Raducanu is made of stern stuff these days and despite not playing well, she refused to buckle against a more experienced opponent.
In the third set, Hercog was gone mentally and Raducanu turned on the style, sealing this breakthrough win with a wonderful 162km/h ace.
It was encouraging to see emotion and passion from Raducanu at key moments on court.
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But there were occasions when she questioned dodgy line calling, asking the umpire: ‘Are you joking?’
It was a test of endurance as the match time eclipsed the one hour and 51 minutes she spent contesting the US Open final.
Next up will be Romanian Ana Bogdan in the second round but we all know once she gets on a roll, Raducanu has shown she can be truly unstoppable.