Image Source: The Sport Review
Emma Raducanu’s US Open title defense came to an end at the first hurdle when she was defeated in straight sets by France’s Alize Cornet at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Raducanu did not drop a set in ten matches last year, but she made too many errors on a windy New York evening and lost 6-3, 6-3.
The 19-year-ranking old’s will now fall to around the 80 mark, but after a difficult year, she may be relieved that this phase is over and she can focus on laying more firm foundations for her tennis career.
Raducanu, who did not lose a set in 10 matches last year, although disappointed, welcomed the clean slate that the setback would offer.
The crowd inside a thinly populated Louis Armstrong Stadium greeted Raducanu warmly as they welcomed back their most unexpected champion.
Virginia Wade, stunned by Raducanu’s triumph last year, was on the court. The main difference in the Kent teenager’s support camp now is the presence of Russian Dmitry Tursunov, whom she is trialing as she hunts for a permanent coach.
The wind influenced the battle from the outset, with Raducanu finding it especially difficult to re-create the same free-swinging technique that had left her opponents flat-footed but talked of a commitment to be on the front foot.
Cornet had not dropped more than five games in a set in the previous year, but she came out on the right side of three consecutive breaks to lead 5-3 in the opener and displayed superb defensive abilities to clinch the set.
The Frenchwoman, who is competing in her 63rd Grand Slam, has had one of the best seasons of her career, reaching her long-awaited first major quarter-final in Australia before ending Iga Swiatek’s 37-match unbeaten streak at Wimbledon.
Raducanu took a medical timeout to have blisters on her fingers treated before returning to serve to begin the second set.
On the other hand, Cornet was giving away lots of free points through double faults, and with the 32-year-old dissatisfied with the roof shutting during play, Raducanu won three games in a row.
But she couldn’t hold on to her lead, as Cornet came back with a vicious drop shot and pulled away to win.
Swiatek has qualified for the second round of the US Open
In other news, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek easily defeated Jasmine Paolini to go to the second round.
Swiatek hasn’t been in terrific form since her 37-match winning streak stopped at Wimbledon, but she breezed against Italian Paolini 6-3 6-0 in searing heat at Flushing Meadows.
Swiatek will be trying to improve on her previous best performance in New York, which came last year when she reached the fourth round.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina suffered an early defeat, falling 6-4 6-4 to French qualifier Clara Burel.
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Rybakina stated before the competition that she did not feel treated like a Grand Slam champion, and is scheduled on the little Court 12 would not have changed her mind.
Former champion Sloane Stephens defeated Greet Minnen 1-6 6-3 6-3, while Karolina Pliskova defeated Magda Linette 6-2 4-6 7-6. (10-8).
Fourth seed Paula Badosa had to come back from a set down to defeat Lesia Tsurenko, while sixth seed Aryna Sabalenka breezed over Catherine Harrison 6-1 6-3.
Eighth seed Jessica Pegula of the United States defeated Viktorija Golubic 6-2 6-2, and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza also advanced in straight sets, defeating Clara Tauson 6-3 7-6. (7-5).
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