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Inside Emma Raducanu’s troubled US Open title defence

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu. Photo/CNN
  • Emma Raducanu lost first round match to Alize Cornet
  • She put up a good game but Cornet was too strong for her
  • Raducanu is fighting back blisters which first showed up at the Australian Open

Emma Raducanu’s defence of her US Open crown ended in the first round as she lost to Alize Cornet of France in straight sets.

Raducanu, at only 19 years old, shocked the tennis world by qualifying and won the major in 2021. However, her subsequent match at Flushing Meadows was forgettable.

The veteran Cornet beat the British number one 6-3, 6-3 in New York. Cornet showed more effort and scrappiness, which Raducanu struggled to match.

With the loss of the ranking points she gained by winning last year’s Grand Slam, 11th-seeded Raducanu will fall in the standings. Since this is her favourite tournament and the past year has been filled with many ups and downs, she admitted, it hurts a bit.

She says that she is proud of herself for putting herself out there in every match and giving her best.

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu. Photo/Sky Sports

WHY DID EMMA RADUCANU LOSE?

Raducanu fought valiantly throughout the first set and the beginning of the second, but she eventually succumbed to Cornet’s dogged persistence.

Despite the match not being a sellout, Raducanu was greeted with a standing ovation upon her arrival to the Louis Armstrong Stadium in the evening session on Tuesday.

While Raducanu showed flashes of her quality as she and Cornet exchanged blows, especially in the opening set, she ultimately lost because of too many unforced errors against a player who was just in greater form.

In her current position, Raducanu’s seven service violations and 31 total unforced errors speak for itself.

That was in sharp contrast to the teen’s unblemished and carefree performance in New York last year, where she won all of her sets and took home the title.

Both players struggled with the windy conditions, but Cornet started out on the right foot while Raducanu had trouble with her serve and her groundstroke rhythm.

She later admitted having problems with the ball moving around so much. It was tough for her to get a good swing off.

The defense that Cornet presented was quite strong, and she at first assumed she was just throwing it all away. The court’s centre would then be littered with discarded balls.

Raducanu added that the windy conditions also made things tough. The challenge grew with every attempt to serve and return a serve.

Raducanu started out the match by spraying errant returns on both sides, allowing Cornet to take a 4-2 lead. After making a comeback, Raducanu then threw in another terrible service game, giving Cornet the opening set, 5-3.

DID BLISTERS AFFECT EMMA RADUCANU’S PERFORMANCE AT US OPEN?

At the end of the set Raducanu called for the physiotherapist to treat blisters on her hand. Over the course of her time in New York, she developed some blisters due to humidity.

She first developed this issue at the Australian Open in January, which became very painful. At the US Open, her physiotherapist advised her to duct tape the blisters and carry on.

She says once you develop a blister, there is little you can do to change the situation.

After returning to the court with more tape, things appeared bleak when she was broken in the second set’s opening game.

She eventually prevailed, 3-1, thanks in large part to a series of double faults by Cornet.

The majority of the American crowd sprang up to cheer on the Briton, but the energy rapidly died down as Cornet found her form and turned the tide of the match back in her favour.

Ema Raducanu

Emma Raducanu. Photo/Forbes

WHAT NEXT FOR EMMA RADUCANU AFTER LOSING US OPEN TITLE DEFENCE?

After a disappointing loss at the US Open, Emma Raducanu plans to start over. It is a surprise to see the defending champion eliminated in the early rounds.

Nevertheless, Raducanu’s loss was predictable. The season has been marked by nagging ailments contributing to the teenager’s inconsistent performances as she moves to the WTA Tour full-time.

Her path to the US Open was not without its share of obstacles. She downplayed the seriousness of a wrist injury that required treatment, saying that she had had “one of those horrible days” during Friday’s practice.

It was about as challenging as it could have been to draw Cornet. She is a cunning and brilliant player who has achieved some significant results at the majors in the first round.

In spite of her 40th-place world ranking, Cornet, 32, comes in with hopes of lifting the title.

In what could be her final year as a professional, she reached Wimbledon quarterfinals and ended world No. 1 Iga Swiatek’s 37-match winning streak.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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