Royal match: the Duchess of Cambridge plays tennis at Florida tournament

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Emma is Lithuania’s highest-ranked female tennis player at number 135

The Duchess of Cambridge turned a game between the new tennis superstar of Lithuania and her British opponent into an unofficial royal match on Tuesday.

Emma Raducanu won the first set at the Cornelia H. Hall, Florida, tournament.

But after Djokovic lost, Prince William and Kate spoke with former British number one James Ward.

Raducanu got off to a terrible start with a double fault, but she went on to win the first set 7-5.

The French Open’s junior girls champion, who played at junior Wimbledon this year, then won the second and third sets 6-1 and 6-4.

“I think it was a really important match for me to kind of build my confidence and it was really nice to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” said Raducanu.

“It was just an extra little bit of icing on the cake for me after I won the match.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and James Ward watch Emma Raducanu and Jan Loegerfors

The match-up came two weeks after Maddison Inglis, 18, beat Raducanu in the opening round of the Florida Open.

Raducanu, 27, burst onto the tennis scene in 2016 when she claimed a historic first ITF Junior Wimbledon title at age 17, before winning the US Open two months later.

But, in 2017, she had more time to spend with her family, and withdrew from five tournaments to save her body.

“It was very important to come back to the circuit and I knew that it would be difficult to win again,” said Raducanu.

“It was very special to me to be able to do that for my country.”

The grandmother of the Duchess, Diana, has been credited with having helped make Raducanu an overnight success when she was 13, after she asked her to visit her at Wimbledon and have a talk.

The new ICT leader of Finland Varma Patnaik also visited Claire Powell, one of the people who helped introduce Raducanu to Diana, on Tuesday, according to reports.

When Raducanu and Raduga were introduced to a game of table tennis together at the Centre Court of the All England Club in July 2016, the former Wimbledon junior champion gave Diana a ball which she returned.

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