Emma Raducanu dumped out of Australian Open by Coco Gauff as injury questions remain

Emma Raducanu lost in the second round of the Australian Open

Emma Raducanu lost in the second round of the Australian Open© Getty

Emma Raducanu suffered a brave defeat to world No.7 Coco Gauff in a first meeting of a potentially long-running rivalry. The American teenager reached round of the Australian Open in pursuit of her first Grand Slam by beating the British No.1 6-3 7-6.

But the former US Open winner competed well in an entertaining encounter full of long rallies and had two set points to win the second set. Her backhand down the line especially troubled the world No.7 as she deployed the tactics of new German coach Sebastian Sachs.

On this evidence, the pair of young superstars could be competing for titles for the next decade but this is still another early Major exit for the world No.77.

In five Grand Slams since her New York triumph, Raducanu has won only four matches and has failed to get beyond the second round.

She lost at the same stage last year to world No.98 Danka Kovinic after suffering from blisters on her racquet hand following a layoff with Covid.

This time she entered the first Grand Slam of the season nursing an ankle injury picked up on a “slippery” indoor court in Auckland. She had enough to get past German world No.76 Tamara Korpatsch in the first round but Radacanu is still to beat a top-ten player and Gauff won the big points in this encounter

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Starting at 7.15pm local time under the roof of the Rod Laver Arena after a day of rain, Raducanu reversed her kit from Monday by pairing a pink skirt with abstract patterned top.

But Gauff made the first non-fashion statement by making the first break to lead 3-1 when Raducanu hooked a backhand into the tramlines.

The British No.1 broke back back but the American completed a hat-trick of of breaks and took her second set point after 43 minutes when the world No.77 put a backhand service return into the net. Raducanu needed to start strongly in the second set but was broken in the third game to go 1-2 down after serving two double faults.


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2023 Australian Open - Day 3

2023 Australian Open – Day 3© Getty

Yet the British No.1 kept fighting and broke Gauff to love to bring the scores back level at 4-4. And when the American served to stay in the set at 4-5, Raducanu had two set points in a marathon 16-point rally but pushed a backhand long and then dumped a drop shot into the net.

Gauff is two years younger than Raducanu but, after making her breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2019 as a 15-year-old, she has more experience on the WTA Tour. And she showed that in the tiebreak by minimising her mistakes while Raducanu made a string of errors.

The British No.1 saved a first match point with a backhand winner down the line and Gauff found the net with a backhand on her second chance to finish the match. But the American constructed a brilliant point by following a drop shot with a lob to finish the match before the two embraced at the net after one hour and 42 minutes.

Source:Story by Neil McLeman,Daily Express

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