Emma Raducanu struggles with illness as she suffers Australian Open exit

By Sports Desk January 18, 2024

Emma Raducanu suffered more physical difficulties in a second-round Australian Open exit to China’s Wang Yafan.

The former US Open champion, playing only her fourth match since returning from eight months out and three surgeries, had battled back strongly from a set and a break down to force a deciding set.

But Raducanu then appeared to struggle with breathing difficulties, clutching at her chest and abdomen before calling the trainer after two games.

She had her blood pressure checked and took some pills before resuming, and she battled hard to try to turn the match around but Wang held firm to win 6-4 4-6 6-4 after two hours and 55 minutes.

Raducanu’s exit followed those of Katie Boulter and Jack Draper and means Cameron Norrie, who battled from two sets down earlier to beat Giulio Zeppieri, is the only British player through to the third round.

Raducanu comfortably won her first-round match against Shelby Rogers, but the American looked very rusty after a long break herself which made it difficult to gauge the 21-year-old’s true level.

This was a much bigger test, with Wang a former top-50 player now ranked 94 who is still working her way back up the game after choosing not to travel amid China’s restrictive Covid policies.

The 29-year-old’s game initially held up better than Raducanu’s in the breezy conditions and she opened a 5-2 lead in the first set.

The match was again being played on the relatively small 1573 Arena, and queues stretched from each entrance with fans eager to watch the contest.

Raducanu had the majority of the support, and she sparked hopes of a comeback by winning consecutive games to make it 5-4, but Wang served it out at the second time of asking.

There were too many errors off the racket of the British player, and she dropped serve again at the start of the second set.

But Raducanu dug in and gradually began to find her range, finally taking her fifth break point in a long fourth game to draw level.

The 21-year-old is determined to stick to an aggressive game plan following her comeback and her forehand was now looking the dominant shot.

She broke to lead 5-3 with a sizzling cross-court winner but tentativeness crept in as she tried to serve out the set, with two chances going begging.

Raducanu did not let the disappointment affect her, though, and refused to be hesitant when more chances arrived on Wang’s serve, drilling a backhand winner to clinch a mammoth 65-minute set.

Both players took a bathroom break but that did not alleviate the discomfort Raducanu was feeling, and there was doubt over whether she would be able to continue.

She improved physically again as the match went on and will feel she could have turned the set around but a final backhand into the net signalled her demise.

Related items

  • Djokovic overcomes Griekspoor to reach Geneva Open semi-finals Djokovic overcomes Griekspoor to reach Geneva Open semi-finals

    Novak Djokovic beat Tallon Griekspoor in straight sets in the Geneva Open quarter-finals on Thursday, teeing up a last-four meeting with Tomas Machac.

    Djokovic was pushed all the way in an intriguing opener, Griekspoor generating three set points only to fail to convert any of them.   

    The world number one immediately punished Griekspoor's wastefulness by breaking at the end of a back-and-forth service game, then proceeded to serve the first set out in comfort.

    Griekspoor would not get a second chance to make a contest of it as Djokovic took full advantage of an early break in the second set, serving at 81 per cent and winning 92 per cent of points behind his first serve from there as he cruised to a 7-5 6-1 win.

    Data Debrief: Age just a number for Djokovic

    Having turned 37 on Wednesday, Djokovic is the oldest semi-finalist in Geneva Open history.

    Now 14-5 for the year, he is the strong favourite to claim his first title of 2024. Flavio Cobolli will face Sebastian Baez or Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

  • Nadal to begin French Open campaign against Zverev Nadal to begin French Open campaign against Zverev

    Rafael Nadal will begin his French Open campaign against fourth seed Alexander Zverev, as the 14-time champion approaches what will likely be his final tournament at Roland-Garros.

    Nadal has repeatedly said he plans to call time on his glittering career at the end of 2024, having struggled with hip and abdominal injuries in recent years.

    His 14 titles in the French capital are four more than any other man has won at a specific major, with Novak Djokovic triumphing 10 times at the Australian Open.

    The Spaniard, who has missed the last four majors, arrived at Roland-Garros on Monday and faces a tough opening assignment.

    He will face world number four Zverev – who won the Italian Open last week – for a place in the second round, where David Goffin or Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard awaits.

    Nadal faced Zverev en route to his last grand slam triumph at the 2022 French Open, the German being forced to retire due to an ankle injury over three hours into a gruelling semi-final matchup.

    Novak Djokovic starts his title defence against Pierre-Hugues Herbert, as he looks to fend off competition from Jannik Sinner for top spot in the ATP Rankings.

    Australian Open winner Sinner will face Christopher Eubanks first up, while third seed Carlos Alcaraz begins against a qualifier.

    Like Nadal, Andy Murray is likely featuring at the French Open for the final time, and he has been drawn to face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a huge first-round encounter. 

    In the women's draw, Iga Swiatek starts her bid for a third straight French Open crown against either a qualifier or a lucky loser, with Naomi Osaka a potential second-round opponent if the former world number one can overcome Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti.

    Coco Gauff is on the same side of the draw as Swiatek, while second seed Arnya Sabalenka begins against Erika Andreeva in the other half, with Elena Rybakina her forecasted semi-final opponent. 

  • Birthday boy Djokovic eases into Geneva Open quarter-final with Hanfmann triumph Birthday boy Djokovic eases into Geneva Open quarter-final with Hanfmann triumph

    Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday by breezing into the Geneva Open quarter-finals after his comfortable straight-sets victory against Yannick Hanfmann.

    The world number one made light work of Hanfmann, who defeated Andy Murray the day before, after a 6-3 6-3 victory in Switzerland on Wednesday.

    Serbia's Djokovic saved nine of the 10 break points faced and won six straight games in the second set for a routine victory, responding emphatically after going 3-0 down.

    The winner of a last-16 meeting between Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor awaits in the last eight for Djokovic, who triumphed with little trouble on his 37th birthday.

    Data Debrief: Age will not stop Djokovic

    Having watched rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal struggle for fitness in the latter stages of their career, Djokovic is showing no signs of slowing down before the French Open starts later this month.

    Djokovic will be aiming to become the second player in the Open Era to secure a Grand Slam Singles title after turning 37, along with Ken Rosewall at the Australian Open 1972.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.