French Open: Beaten Raducanu still learning but ready for 'more familiar' second year

By Sports Desk May 25, 2022

Emma Raducanu has completed her "pretty positive" first year on the WTA Tour after exiting the French Open in defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Wednesday.

Raducanu made her WTA Tour main-draw debut last June as a wildcard at the Nottingham Open, which directly follows Roland Garros.

The Briton's stunning ascent could scarcely have been imagined at that stage, as she went on to enjoy remarkable, record-breaking success in winning the US Open later in 2021.

Subsequent progress has not been quite so smooth, and Raducanu's latest grand slam campaign ended in the second round against Sasnovich in Paris.

The 19-year-old appeared to be in command after taking the opener but collapsed to lose 3-6 6-1 6-1.

Yet speaking after the match, Raducanu reminded reporters her senior career is merely 12 months old, meaning she is still happy to focus on the positives rather than rue another upset defeat – the world number 12 ousted by an unseeded opponent.

"We were saying with my team this morning: it's pretty much a year anniversary since my comeback to competitive tennis," she said. "I was playing a Brit tour in Connaught [in May 2021].

"I think I have come a long way since then. I think I do really welcome going around the second time. I think this year was always going to be challenging for me to adjust, find my feet.

"There's always something new. Like I'm always asking where everything is. I have no idea where everything is. It's going to be a lot more familiar this time around.

"I feel like in the last 12 months, I have definitely grown a lot. On and off the court, I feel like I have probably improved, like how much I fight.

"I think that's one of my biggest strengths and even more so on the tour this year, and it's definitely opened my eyes to just how good everyone is and how much depth there is in the game.

"But I think that it has been a pretty positive year just because I have learnt so much, and I think that the amount of learning that I have kind of done outweighs any sort of result, to be honest."

That "learning" was the theme of Raducanu's post-tournament assessment, explaining she is now "taking it better" when she is beaten and will "just look at everything as a lesson".

She said: "I know exactly where I went wrong, where I can improve, where other people are better than me.

"To be honest, I am learning every single day, every single match, every practice.

"I would say that I'm at this level, but there are definitely aspects of my game that need to improve and catch up to where my current ranking is."

Related items

  • Ruud edges into French Open third round after rollercoaster match Ruud edges into French Open third round after rollercoaster match

    Casper Ruud survived a scare after being pushed all the way by Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the French Open second round on Thursday.

    The Norwegian prevailed 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in an instant classic that lasted just over four hours on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

    Ruud knew he was in for a tough match after winning the tiebreak in the first set, and Davidovich Fokina fought back in brilliant fashion to take the second.

    The momentum swung back in Ruud’s favour in the third as he regained the lead in the match, but the Spaniard ensured they could not be separated as he forced a decider after another tight contest.

    Despite putting up a good fight, Davidovich Fokina failed to see out what would have been a stunning win, as Ruud edged one step closer to a potential first Roland Garros title.

    Next up for Ruud is Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the third round.

    Data Debrief: Ruud holds his nerve

    Ruud lost his first-ever Roland Garros second-round match (v Albert Ramos in 2018) but is unbeaten in his six matches at that stage of the French Open since.

    The Norwegian has now reached the third round at Roland Garros six times in his career, which is more than he has in all other three Grand Slams combined (two at the Australian Open, two at the US Open, 0 at Wimbledon). 

  • Sabalenka relishing 'great battle' with best friend Badosa at Roland-Garros Sabalenka relishing 'great battle' with best friend Badosa at Roland-Garros

    Aryna Sabalenka paid tribute to "great fighter" Paula Badosa and is relishing the opportunity to play her best friend on the WTA Tour in the French Open third round.

    The pair have endured contrasting fortunes in their opening two matches at Roland-Garros this week.

    Sabalenka has dropped just seven games on the way to straight-set victories over Erika Andreeva and Moyuka Uchijima, while Badosa has come from behind to beat Katie Boulter and Yulia Putintseva.

    The reigning Australian Open champion - fresh from reaching successive clay-court finals in Madrid and Rome - cannot wait to face the Spaniard, but acknowledged their friendship will be put aside when they collide.

    "She's my favourite," Sabalenka said. "I love her so much. I love to see her play, and she's really a great fighter, so it's always great matches.

    "It's always tough to play your friend, really your best friend on tour, but we know how to manage that. We know how to separate court and life. So, it's always a great battle, a great fight against her. I always enjoy playing against her."

    Sabalenka has won each of the last four meetings between the players, though the most recent in Stuttgart earlier this year ended prematurely with an emotional Badosa forced to retire injured. 

    The former world number two has endured a seemingly endless battle with injuries in recent times, with a back problem forcing her to miss the second half of last season and seeing her drop out of the WTA's top 100.

    "She has a big personality," Badosa said of her opponent. "She always brings this good energy, even on court. She's a very active, very intense player.

    "I'm really looking forward to that match. I think the last time [in Stuttgart], it finished in a sad way. I learned a lot from that match. I think it was a very good one from both sides.

    "Sharing the court with her - after all these results she's getting - is a pleasure for me, because this past year hasn't been easy. Playing this kind of match makes it all worth it."

  • Vondrousova and Keys hold off tough tests to reach French Open third round Vondrousova and Keys hold off tough tests to reach French Open third round

    Marketa Vondrousova and Madison Keys were both pushed hard but advanced to the fourth round of the French Open on Thursday.

    Vondrousova's topsy-turvy match against Katie Volynets started on Wednesday before concluding on Thursday, with the number five seed coming out on top 0-6, 6-1, 6-4.

    The American started strongly, storming through the first set, but Vondrousova recovered well to take a commanding 4-1 lead before rain washed out the rest of the game.

    Vondrousova picked up where she left off upon resumption on Thursday and won one game before another delay due to rain, but eventually saw out the win.

    Keys, meanwhile, won in straight sets against Mayar Sherif, holding out for a 6-0 7-6 (9-7) victory.

    The American cruised through the first game, enjoying three breaks, but a stern fightback from Sherif almost caused some problems.

    Keys held her nerve though, avoiding a decider by saving three set points to prevail on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

    Vondrousova will face Chloe Paquet in the next round, while Keys will play either Sara Errani or Emma Navaro. 

    Data Debrief: Vondrousova marches forward

    The Roland Garros is the tournament where Vondrousova has won the joint-most career matches (13, equalling Indian Wells). 

    She is also unbeaten against opponents ranked above 100 in the WTA since the start of 2023, going 10-0 against such competitors. 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.