Emma Raducanu expressed her determination to continue her Grand Slam comeback despite a challenging match at the Australian Open.
The 21-year-old Briton, recovering from wrist and ankle surgeries, fought courageously but ultimately lost 6-4 4-6 6-4 to China’s Wang Yafan in the second round. Raducanu, playing only her fourth match after an eight-month hiatus, emphasized her resilience, stating, “Everything I went through last year has made me so much tougher.” Despite facing difficulties, including feeling nauseous during the match, she insisted, “There was no way I was going to pull out.
She was going to have to beat me – and she did.” Raducanu’s exit, along with Katie Boulter’s loss, leaves no British players in the women’s singles, with Cameron Norrie remaining the sole representative in the singles draws after a comeback win earlier on Thursday.
Raducanu shows promise despite loss
For any player returning after a lengthy absence, attaining match sharpness takes time, and patience is crucial for their progress.
Considering Raducanu’s extensive list of physical and mental challenges since winning the 2021 US Open, even more caution is warranted.
Thus, it was expected, though not necessarily alarming, to witness Raducanu struggle in the deciding set against the 94th-ranked Wang.
In the third set, Raducanu appeared on the verge of being sick and had her blood pressure checked by a doctor.
Despite this, she had opportunities to break back, but Wang held on.
After the match, Raducanu dispelled any concerns by attributing her discomfort to a stomach bug.
“I just felt so sick, really weak and nauseous. Throughout the third set, everyone could see it was a bit of a battle,” she said. “Physically, I felt fine. It was more like I was throwing up in my mouth. Now I’m OK; I’ll get over it. It just sucks with the timing.”
Her resilience and glimpses of undeniable quality during the three-hour contest were both encouraging and admirable.
Wang played strategically in the challenging conditions of the first set, capitalizing on Raducanu’s slow start.
Despite Raducanu going a double break down, she managed to elevate her game, breaking back and forcing a decider.
Facing adversity, Raducanu exhibited determination, even missing two set points but seizing the opportunity in the next game to set up the deciding set.
In the third set, Raducanu faced breathing difficulties and nausea, trailing 2-0 and requiring a doctor’s assessment. Despite four more break points for Raducanu, Wang served out the match to advance to the Grand Slam third round.