Emma Raducanu narrowly avoided a humbling ‘double-bagel’ defeat as she crashed out of the Sydney International to world number 13 Elena Rybakina.
The 19-year-old US Open champion was thumped 6-0 6-1 in 55 minutes in her first match since recovering from a bout of coronavirus.
Raducanu’s defeat came on the same day she secured a ranking of 17 for next week’s Australian Open, and she will now be painfully aware of the size of her task ahead.
— wta (@WTA) January 11, 2022
The British player was over-powered by her opponent, fresh off a run to the final of the Adelaide International last week, and lost the first nine games of the match.
Raducanu flashed a smile after avoiding the indignity of a shut-out in the 10th game but she continued to be let down by a second-serve percentage that barely scraped over 10 per cent.
Raducanu saved the first two match points against her with arguably her two best shots of the match, before succumbing to the inevitable as Rybakina eased into the last 16.
“After the match I got a box of balls and went straight to the practice court,” Raducanu told reporters.
Good perspective from Emma Raducanu after her loss.
“I think I’ll brush this off. Yesterday was pretty much my 2nd time playing competitive points for 2 months. I’m confident that I can brush it off and keep going and keep working.” Hit the practice court right after the match.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 11, 2022
“I felt I could have done some things better and I wanted to try and fix it straight away, just leave with a better feeling about it.
“At the end of the day I just want to keep putting myself out there. Even if I keep getting knocked down, it’s just about getting back up and basically just falling in front. You’re one step better, you learn more.”
She added: “I could have easily said it’s too soon and just play next week, but I wanted to really give myself some competitive points and matches. I think this will help in putting me in a better place for next week.”