Injury struck Raducanu slumps out of Slovenia Open as Swan makes Chennai quarters

By Sports Desk September 15, 2022

Emma Raducanu struggled with injury as she slumped out of the Slovenia Open in a second-round 7-5 0-6 6-3 loss to Anna-Lena Friedsam.

The 2021 US Open champion has faced an uphill battle on the WTA Tour this year and suffered another setback in Portoroz, where she was the top seed, playing the latter two sets with her left thigh strapped after a medical time-out.

A recovery looked possible when Raducanu cruised through a second-set bagel, yet the 19-year-old succumbed in the decider.

Raducanu's defeat follows a first-round exit at Flushing Meadows in a dismal attempt to defend her title.

Friedsman's win, meanwhile, secures the world number 213's first appearance in the quarter-finals of a Tour-level event since she lost in the final of the Lyon Open in 2020. It was also her second victory over Raducanu.

Diane Parry will face Friedsman in the last eight, after she overcame Anastasia Potapova, while Katerina Siniakova – who last week completed a career Grand Slam in doubles at the US Open – defeated Jodie Burrage.

Meanwhile, reigning champion Jasmine Paolini overcame a tie-break finale against Kaja Juvan. The Italian fought back to win 5-7 6-2 7-6 (7-5) to stay on course for a successful title defence.

At the Chennai Open, Anastasia Gasanova failed to back up her first-round win over top seed Alison Riske-Amritraj with another success, as Britain's Katie Swan edged her 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

That sets up a quarter-final clash with qualifier Nao Hibino.

The top two seeds left in the competition, Magda Linette and Tatjana Maria, also progressed on Thursday.

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  • Lopez unsure if Spain's Nadal-led golden generation will be repeated Lopez unsure if Spain's Nadal-led golden generation will be repeated

    Feliciano Lopez has doubts whether Spain's golden generation led by Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will ever be replicated.

    With Nadal's glittering career nearing its end, the torch for Spanish tennis has been passed on to Alcaraz, who at just 20 has already won Wimbledon and the US Open.

    The pair have now combined for over half of Spain's grand slam titles, and while Lopez feels his nation will have more success in the future, the former world number 12 has concerns whether it will match the levels that Nadal produced. 

    "I believe that we are not going to experience the generation of Spanish tennis players that we lived through again," Lopez told Stats Perform. "People have to be clear about that.

    "But that does not mean that there will not be other great tennis players that will represent the country very well in the coming years.

    "I don't know Spanish tennis in the minor categories, beyond some names that have been told to me, but I know that there are kids of 16 or 17 who play well.

    "In the end, I think Spanish tennis has been in a place that is very difficult to get back to, but I'm sure that apart from Carlitos, there will be other young players who will bring us joy during the next four, five or six years."

    Alcaraz has reached at least the semi-finals in the last four grand slam tournaments he has played, winning two of them, and Lopez has faith that he can carry the torch for Spanish tennis once Nadal calls it a day.

    "Spanish tennis is in the hands of Carlitos and when Rafa announces his retirement, the entire country will want him to win," Lopez added. 

    "He has already won two grand slams and has been number one. It is a blessing to have a player like Carlos at a time when Rafa has a year left to retire."

    Nadal's decorated career has coincided with a great era of Spanish sport, with the nation's male and female football teams both winning World Cup titles while they have also enjoyed success in the likes of basketball and motorsport.

    Lopez takes pride in his country's sporting achievements, explaining: "A country like Spain that is not a world power, and sport does not have the aid that neighbouring countries invest, in the last 20 years, has not stopped winning titles in all disciplines: Tennis, football, and basketball."

  • Nadal backed for dream Roland Garros send-off by Lopez Nadal backed for dream Roland Garros send-off by Lopez

    Rafael Nadal is unlikely to match Novak Djokovic's haul of 24 grand slam titles, but the Spaniard is capable of capping his remarkable career with one last Roland Garros triumph next year. 

    That is the opinion of Feliciano Lopez, who hopes to see Nadal overcome his injury woes to enjoy a triumphant send-off in 2024.

    Nadal's total of 22 grand slam titles is only bettered by Djokovic among male players, with the Serbian matching Margaret Court's overall record by winning the US Open.

    Djokovic has won three of four grand slams in 2023, with injuries leading Nadal to miss the last three majors after he was eliminated from the Australian Open by Mackenzie McDonald in January.

    Nadal confirmed earlier this year that 2024 would "probably" be his last year on the tour, and former world number nine Lopez is desperate to see his compatriot go out on a high.

    Asked if Nadal could add to his 14 French Open titles – a single-slam record – next year, Lopez told Stats Perform: "With Rafa, you never know, because he has shown on other occasions that he was able to come back stronger, even when he had significant injuries. 

    "It will depend a lot on how he feels physically, that will be key. I wouldn't be surprised to see him competing at a good level next year and I would love for him to say goodbye by winning Roland Garros. 

    "It would be a dream for me and many people to see him lift that cup once again.

    "It is very difficult for me to talk about Rafa, because he has changed the way we see sport in Spain. Before Rafa we had great athletes, but none transcended sport the way he has.

    "Rafa's figure in Spanish sport and in the lives of Spanish people… there will be none like him. 

    "There have been many joys that he has given us. He has given us examples in many situations outside of sports. There will be a before and after [Nadal] in Spanish sport."

    While Nadal now looks highly unlikely to match the evergreen Djokovic for total grand slam titles, Lopez does not believe that will concern the 37-year-old.

    "The issue of numbers and who is bigger than who fuels the media a lot," Lopez added. "At this moment in Rafa's life, I don't think he is thinking about that.

    "With the numbers, we can see who won the most things, but that is not the question. I want him to return so he can compete again for one last year at the highest level. 

    "Hopefully he wins one or two more grand slams, but right now, his goal is to recover and be physically competitive. 

    "That is what Rafa needs and wants, because if he is not feeling well enough to compete, it will be very difficult for him to be able to play many tournaments next year." 

  • 'The numbers don't lie' – Djokovic hailed as greatest of all time by Lopez 'The numbers don't lie' – Djokovic hailed as greatest of all time by Lopez

    Novak Djokovic is just one grand slam away from becoming the most decorated player in history and Feliciano Lopez believes "the numbers don't lie" when it comes to debating tennis' greatest.

    Serbia's Djokovic equalled Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam triumphs after defeating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets at the US Open earlier in September.

    That made the world number one, aged 36 years and 111 days at the time, the oldest winner of the men's singles title at the US Open.

    It was also Djokovic's third major crown of 2023, winning a trio of grand slams in a calendar year for the fourth time in his career,

    Davis Cup tournament director Lopez, who had previously hailed Djokovic for featuring at the "unique" competition, suggested no one in history compares with the 36-year-old.

    Asked by Stats Perform if Djokovic was the GOAT – greatest of all time – Lopez said: "According to the numbers, yes. The numbers don't lie.

    "If you look at the stats, Novak is the best. So, I mean, what can I say?

    "I think the numbers are very clear, not only by the fact that he's won 24 slams, but also there are other numbers and other statistics that clearly show he's the best player who ever played the sport.

    "According to the numbers, I cannot say anything different."

    Djokovic triumphed at the Australian Open, French Open and US Open, only missing out on a clean sweep of the majors after losing the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.

    As for Djokovic's chances for more major success going forward, Lopez believes the sky is still the limit.

    "It's very difficult to predict honestly, but as long as he's feeling physically strong I think it's clear that his will in the last three or four years is to keep winning grand slams," Lopez added.  

    "If he is able to sustain his physical condition for the next two years, I can fairly say that he can win, I don't know, two, three or four, but it's very difficult to say one number because this year, for example, he could have won all four.

    "He won in Australia, he won in Paris, he was very close to winning Wimbledon because of that second-set tie-break, and he just won the US Open.

    "You ask me how many grand slams you think he will win in the future when he just won three of them in the same year!

    "I don't know, maybe three or four more is fair to say, but it's very difficult to predict."

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