Emma Raducanu was forced to retire from her Korea Open semi-final against Jelena Ostapenko due to injury, leaving the Latvian to face second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in Sunday's final.

The 2021 US Open winner was featuring in her first semi-final since that fairytale triumph at Flushing Meadows, and took the opening set 6-4 after making a flying start on Saturday.

Ostapenko then fought back to level the match, with Raducanu first appearing to struggle with her movement when she was a break up in the second, forcing her to take an off-court medical timeout.

The 19-year old later retired citing a left glute injury when 3-0 down in the decider, ending her confidence-boosting run in Seoul and teeing up a final meeting between the top two seeds.

Indeed, Alexandrova enjoyed a more routine outing in her meeting with Wimbledon semi-finalist Tatjana Maria, downing the German 6-2 6-4 to advance to her second final of the year.

At the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, meanwhile, Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen reached her first WTA Tour final with a hard-fought win over world number 13 Veronika Kudermetova.

Having required over three hours to seal her 5-7 6-3 7-6 (7-3) triumph, the world number 36 said: "After the match when I won the last point, the feeling was incredible. 

"The opponent, she's playing unbelievable tennis. She has a really good serve and hits the ball hard, she moves well. It's my first time in the final. I'm so happy."

Her compatriot Zhang Shuai was unable to replicate those exploits, however, as Liudmila Samsonova eased into her third WTA final of the year with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 win. 

In-form Samsonova has won both of her previous final appearances this year - each of which came last month - and is 3-0 in showpiece matches for her career.

Emma Raducanu raced into her first semi-final of 2022 by beating Magda Linette at the Korea Open, teeing up a meeting with top seed Jelena Ostapenko. 

Raducanu required just 77 minutes to see off the third seed for a 6-2 6-2 win, dominating from the outset to clinch her first final four spot in any tournament since last year's famous US Open triumph.

Having wrapped up the opener with a fierce backhand winner, Raducanu was forced to endure a brief revival from Linette in the second set, before the Pole was troubled by a thigh injury.

Linette lost 14 of the first 17 points on resumption after a medical time out, struggling with her movement as Raducanu saw out the match.

Raducanu has yet to drop a set during her run in Seoul, but will face a stern test in the semi-finals after Ostapenko overcame 17-year-old Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2 6-1, setting up a first career meeting between the duo.

On the other side of the draw, Ekaterina Alexandrova earned a hard-fought 7-5 7-6 (8-6) win over Lulu Radovcic, but fourth seed Zhu Lin crashed out to Tatjana Maria, losing 6-1 6-1.

In the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza fell to a shock 6-4 6-2 quarter-final defeat to Liudmila Samsonova, handing the Russian her 16th win in her last 17 outings.

She will meet Zhang Shuai in the next round, after she became the first Chinese player to make the last four in Tokyo since 2009 by beating Petra Martic 7-5 6-2. 

In a battle between the competition's fourth and fifth seeds, meanwhile, Veronika Kudermetova rallied to beat Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (8-6) 6-1.

 

Naomi Osaka's title defence at her home Pan Pacific Open event came to a premature end as she withdrew from her second-round match against Beatriz Haddad Maia.

The former world number one, who won the Tokyo tournament when it was last held in 2019, was unable to compete in Thursday's match due to illness.

"I am really sorry that I am not able to compete today," Osaka said. "It's an honour to be able to play at the Pan Pacific Open in front of the amazing fans here in Japan.

"This has and always will be a special tournament for me and I wish I could have stepped on court today, but my body won't let me."

Haddad Maia advanced on a walkover and will next face fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova, who defeated Mexican qualifier Fernanda Contreras Gomez 6-0 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals.

Liudmila Samsonova also progressed to the last eight, with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Wang Xinyu continuing her good form.

However, sixth seed Karolina Pliskova exited the competition on Thursday at the hands of Petra Martic, who prevailed 6-3 6-4 and will face Zhang Shuai next.

At the Korea Open, top seed Jelena Ostapenko recovered from two games down in the deciding set to overcome Anastasia Gasanova 6-3 5-7 7-5.

Ostapenko remains on a possible semi-final collision course with Emma Raducanu, who came through 6-4 7-5 against Yanina Wickmayer, while Magda Linette saved two match points to beat Kristina Mladenovic 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

The top two seeds were eliminated in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo as Paula Badosa and Caroline Garcia both crashed out on Wednesday.

Badosa was defeated in just 78 minutes by Zheng Qinwen, with the number one seed going down 6-3 6-2.

It was 19-year-old Zheng's first completed win against a top 10 opponent in her career, and she said afterwards: "Even though the score was like this, there were a lot of emotions for me in this match and I'm very proud of myself. It's not a surprise. I always knew I had the level, I just had to make it."

Second seed Garcia hit 27 aces in her match against Zhang Shuai, the most in a single WTA-level contest since Kristyna Pliskova against Monica Puig in Luxembourg 2019 (28), but it was not enough as she lost two tie-breaks to lose 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5).

Number three seed Garbine Muguruza had more success as she beat Greek opponent Despina Papamichail 6-4 6-2, while Claire Liu also eased to a win against Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1, and will play Zheng in the quarter-finals.

Eighth seed Elena Rybakina suffered a first-round exit as she lost to Liudmila Samsonova 6-2 6-4, who will play Xinyu next.

The seeds fared better over at the Korea Open, with Emma Raducanu sealing a first-round win against Moyuka Uchijima 6-2 6-4, while Magda Linette also eased past Arianne Hartono, 6-2 7-5, though fifth-seed Varvara Gracheva was knocked out by Anna Blinkova 6-4 7-6 (7-1).

In the second round, third seed Ekaterina Alexandrova is through after beating Han Na-lae 6-1 6-3, as is Lin Zhu of China following her straightforward 6-1 6-3 victory against India's Ankita Raina.

There were also wins for Tatjana Maria against Kimberly Birrell, and 17-year-old Andorran Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva against eighth seed Rebecca Marino.

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.

Emma Raducanu was not able to see out victory against Dayana Yastremska at the Slovenia Open as her opponent retired when two points from defeat.

Raducanu, returning to action after a first-round loss at the US Open, where she had been the defending champion, looked set to ease past Yastremska.

The Briton did advance to the second round, but only courtesy of a premature conclusion to the match.

Raducanu led 6-2 5-3 and was 30-0 up in her own service game when Yastremska retired, complaining of a wrist injury.

Yastremska has previously been accused of gamesmanship for similar antics; of her now six career mid-match retirements, all have come with her a break down and about to lose, with four coming in a potentially decisive game.

Her decision to quit at this year's Australian Open was particularly unpopular, with Madison Brengle on the brink of inflicting a third-set bagel.

However, Raducanu did not look to criticise Yastremska after this latest contentious finale.

"Obviously no one wants to win by retirement," the top seed said. "But Dayana is an extremely ferocious competitor, so I knew it was going to be a tough match going in."

Fellow seeds Beatriz Haddad Maia, Ekaterina Alexandrova and Anastasia Potapova all also progressed in Portoroz.

At the Chennai Open, only eighth seed Chloe Paquet was subject to a scalp against Karman Kaur Thandi, with Rebecca Peterson and Eugenie Bouchard among the other victors.

Emma Raducanu tried to focus on the positives after seeing her US Open defence ended at the first hurdle, suggesting "the target will be off my back" as she prepares to tumble down the WTA rankings.

The teenager sensationally won at Flushing Meadows in 2021 without dropping a set, yet that remains her sole Tour-level title a year on.

And any hopes of a remarkable repeat were swiftly dashed by first-round opponent Alize Cornet, who brushed the 11th seed aside 6-3 6-3 on Tuesday.

But Raducanu is relishing the opportunity to build her career again without her status as a reigning major champion.

"[It is] obviously really disappointing, [I am] really sad to leave here," Raducanu said afterwards. "It's probably my favourite tournament.

"But also, in a way, [I am] happy, because it's a clean slate. I'm going to drop down the rankings, climb my way back up.

"Yeah, in a way, the target will be off my back slightly. Yeah, I just have another chance to claw my way back up there.

"I've been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. [I am] just looking forward to putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we'll see what happens."

Indeed, Raducanu claimed her 2022 season might have been considered a success had she not set such a high standard in New York last year.

She has played two quarter-finals this year, losing to Iga Swiatek in Stuttgart and Liudmila Samsonova in Washington D.C.

"It is a clean slate. I can just start again," Raducanu said. "I don't know what my ranking will be – probably pretty low down.

"With perspective, actually as a 19-year-old, I've had not a bad year. To be top 100, if you told me that a year ago, I'd take it.

"But I think it would be nice in a way to just start over, start fresh. Off the court, I don't think it will make much of a difference, to be honest."

She added: "I actually think, for me, the most exciting thing is trying to do well at each of the different tournaments.

"Regardless of what it is – it sounds weird – [as] US Open defending champion, obviously it would have been great to defend the title, but I want new experiences.

"In a way, I've kind of done that [winning the US Open], so I want another tournament.

"It doesn't really matter what it is. I think any player would be happy to win a tournament. I think it makes a massive difference, no matter what the level is."

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been eliminated in the first round after going down in straight sets 6-3 6-3 against Alize Cornet on Tuesday.

Raducanu struggled with both her serve and her ground strokes early on against her French opponent.

She won just 40 per cent (10-of-25) of her service points in the opening set, while committing 18 unforced errors with seven winners as she had her serve broken three times.

After footage emerged of Raducanu distressed during a recent training session due to blisters and hand issues, it was no surprise to see her call for a medical timeout between the sets, needing some running repairs and fresh band-aids.

The women traded breaks of serve continuously throughout the match, with four breaks from the first five games of the second set, but every time Raducanu gained any momentum, Cornet would answer immediately.

For the match, Raducanu only held serve twice from nine attempts. Cornet will meet Katerina Siniakova in the second round.

 

Data Slam: Raducanu hits cold stretch at the worst time

It was not a great preparation for her maiden grand slam title defence, with Raducanu now collecting four straight-sets losses from her past six matches.

The 19-year-old has had a disappointing season, and has not won three matches in a row since last year's US Open.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Raducanu – 15/30

Cornet – 22/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Raducanu – 2/2 

Cornet – 1/9

BREAK POINTS WON

Raducanu – 4/6

Cornet – 7/10

Emma Raducanu can deal with the high expectations around her but needs to find a coach and stick with them, according to former British number one John Lloyd.

Raducanu is set to defend her US Open title at Flushing Meadows as the final grand slam of the year gets underway on Monday.

The teenager's sensational success at the 2021 tournament as a qualifier came from nowhere, but she has been unable to replicate it since, having not won any further singles titles.

In fact, she has not even been beyond the quarter-finals of any slam or WTA Tour event since her extraordinary success.

Lloyd still struggles to comprehend her achievement.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Lloyd said: "When you win a slam the expectations are going to go through the roof, that's just the way it is.

"She achieved something, I'd liken it to Rocky, it was very similar. People have sent me film scripts like the one Wimbledon, the tennis film that came out, and I told the person, they sent me the script six months before, I said, 'This is stupid, stop coming up with these movies where you get some guy or woman comes up from the qualifiers and wins a grand slam, it doesn't happen, it's stupid, it's never going to happen.' And then she goes and does it.

"What she achieved was amazing, but she did it almost like getting an A in a test without doing the homework. She really didn't do the homework to get there.

"She hasn't done the miles yet, and her body hasn't, the toughness hasn't come. She went above it before she was ready in some ways, but she's already got it, that's in her pocket now. She is a slam winner and no-one can take that away from her.

"The expectations are unbelievably high, and they're going be and she has to face that fact, she can’t hide it, she's a slam winner so people are going to expect, but people in the game know that it was going be a tough year [for her]."

The 19-year-old split from her coach Torben Beltz in April after just six months, saying she needed "a new training model" and she has been working with Dmitry Tursunov on a trial basis in the last month.

Beltz became the third coach to move on from working with Raducanu in just 12 months after she swapped Nigel Sears for Andrew Richardson, who had been in her corner at last year's US Open.

Lloyd acknowledges there is not necessarily a right way to do things in tennis, though he is certainly not convinced by Raducanu's approach of choosing a new coach every few months.

"I'm not a big fan of the coaching situation," Lloyd added. "After what Richard Williams did [coaching Venus and Serena Williams] … to say that there's a norm, he threw that out the window.

"What they're doing now in coaching is almost like they're getting hold of coaches, soaking up like a sponge all the information they have and then they go onto the next. I don't think that works in tennis. I could be proved wrong, but I don't think that's right.

"You have to have coaches that you trust completely, because I think a lot of winning matches – I don't want to give too much credit to coaches because it's the person on the court that does the work – but I think a lot of matches are won by the night before the match, and even the morning of the match… you have a trust a coach and what they're saying to you.

"You're a unit, and I don't think chopping and changing having a different coach every three months is the right way to go about. I could be wrong but I think she has to have a settled coach."

Emma Raducanu played down injury concerns on the eve of the US Open after the defending champion suffered discomfort during practice on Friday.

Raducanu enjoyed a meteoric rise at Flushing Meadows last year, becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam as she claimed an unexpected victory in New York.

The British number one overcame Leylah Fernandez in last year's final, clinching a breakthrough success after reeling off 10 consecutive wins without dropping a single set.

But her hopes of defending the title appeared under threat when she twice stopped her session with Ekaterina Alexandrova on Friday, being consoled by coach Dmitry Tursunov after appearing upset by pain in her right hand.

Raducanu headed off court for treatment before returning to complete the session, and insists she is not worried by the episode. 

"I had a few small things, got a couple of blisters, a bit of a niggle here and there," she explained. "It's just one of those weird days where you just feel a bit out of it.

"I can't really explain myself, to be honest. I'm sure everyone in this room has probably had a day like that. I have no concerns of an issue, no."

Raducanu has endured an inconsistent year to date, suffering several niggling injuries and posting 13 wins and 15 defeats in 2022.

While the 19-year-old is not looking to inflate expectations ahead of the US Open, she expressed her delight at returning to the scene of her greatest triumph.

"It's really nice to be back in New York," Raducanu added. "It's great for me to come here having done a year on the tour, having played most of the tournaments.

"I'm really happy with what I've done this year and how I've come out of certain situations. I've obviously got amazing memories in New York.

"I think defending a title is just something that the press makes up. I'm just taking it one match at a time. 

"Every single player is very capable in this draw. I just focus on what I'm doing, my own trajectory. As I said last year, I'm just going to do things my way."

Raducanu, who claimed notable victories over Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last week, will face Alize Cornet in the first round at Flushing Meadows. 

Emma Raducanu is playing better tennis now than when she won the US Open last year, according to six-time major champion Kim Clijsters.

British number one Raducanu enjoyed a meteoric rise at Flushing Meadows last year, becoming the first qualifier to win a grand slam as she claimed an unexpected victory in New York.

She reeled off 10 straight matches without dropping a single set, overcoming the likes of Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari before seeing off Leylah Fernandez in the final.

Difficult form and injuries have prevented the 19-year-old from truly building on the momentum of that triumph, though, with the world number 11 boasting a modest 13-15 record in her first full year on the tour.

Nevertheless, she claimed notable victories over Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati last week ahead of her US Open title defence, which begins against Alize Cornet in the opening round.

And former world number one Clijsters empathises with Raducanu, who she feels needs time to adjust to life in the higher echelons of the sport.

"She's already done a lot more in the lead-up to the US Open than she did last year, she has beaten a lot of good players," Clijsters told Reuters.

"She is maturing as a tennis player. I think her tennis is better now than it was when she won the US Open.

"When you have such a life-changing experience – and I'm not talking about what happens on the court, but everything else that gets added to that, even if she doesn't change, people around you change.

"People look at you differently. People on the tour look at you differently, whether she goes to a tournament in Luxembourg, or in Australia. Everybody knows her.

"Those big changes in life take time to get used to. It's so unrealistic the expectations that are on her because when you play a sport, you go out there and you have an opponent who's trying to win just as hard as you."

While Clijsters believes the teenager would do well to successfully defend her title, the three-time US Open winner is confident she will embrace the challenge.

"Is she going to win the US Open? It would be incredible if she did, but there's a lot of other players out there who have just as much chance as her," said Clijsters, whose last US Open success came in 2010.

"So, it will just be a matter of seeing whether she deals with that emotion of being at the slam and the expectations of it? She might be super excited to be there, and then play really free and without any pressure."

Serena Williams will face Danka Kovinic in the first round as the American great begins her final US Open campaign.

It will be a final grand slam for 40-year-old Williams, who has won six singles titles in New York and been a runner-up on four occasions.

Her first singles crown in a major came as a 17-year-old at Flushing Meadows, when she beat Martina Hingis in the 1999 final.

Now the end of a glorious career is beckoning for the 23-time singles major winner, who has also landed 16 doubles grand slam titles.

Kovinic is the world number 80 from Montenegro, with the 27-year-old having only won two matches at the US Open in four previous main-draw appearances.

The winner of that match will likely face Estonian second seed Anett Kontaveit in round two. Kontaveit's first-round opponent will be Romanian Jaqueline Adina Cristian.

Defending champion Emma Raducanu, who was a shock winner last year, faces a tricky first-round assignment against France's Alize Cornet.

Cornet is the tour veteran who beat Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon, ending the Pole's 37-match winning streak, and this will be her 64th consecutive grand slam appearance, a record for WTA Tour players.

World number one Swiatek starts against Italian Jasmine Paolini and could face 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in round two.

Former champion Naomi Osaka, unseeded this year, was paired with Danielle Collins, the 19th seed who was an Australian Open runner-up at the start of the year.

The tournament gets under way on Monday.

Men's defending champion Daniil Medvedev faces American Stefan Kozlov in his opener, while Rafael Nadal, who has not lost a grand slam match all year, faces Australian wild card Rinky Hijikata.

Nadal won the Australian Open and French Open titles before pulling out of Wimbledon ahead of his semi-final against Australian Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal tear.

That handed Kyrgios a bye through to face Novak Djokovic, who got the better of the Australian, but the Serbian must miss the US Open because his refusal to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus meant he would not be allowed to enter the United States.

Djokovic's absence was confirmed shortly before the draw was revealed.

Fast-rising Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz begins against Argentina's Sebastian Baez, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face a yet-to-be-determined qualifier.

Emma Raducanu is making a "natural transition" to the WTA Tour, says former British number one Laura Robson.

Raducanu became a grand slam winner in just her second major appearance when she defeated fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez in last year's US Open final, and the first qualifier to win the women's singles at Flushing Meadows.

Since then, the 19-year-old has cracked the top 10 of the WTA Rankings, but has otherwise endured a mixed run of form, with a last-16 exit in the Western and Southern Open her latest result ahead of a return to New York, while she has also changed coaches in a season that has so far failed to produce a trophy.

But Robson thinks they are mere teething troubles for Raducanu, arguing that her difficulties have been blown out of proportion.

"I wouldn't say she struggled," Robson told Stats Perform. "I think she's making it a natural transition to the main tour.

"Emma came through so quickly, then struggling to catch up to the day-to-day life of being a professional tennis player, which is a lot of time away from home, a lot of training weeks, a lot of travel.

"She hasn't been able to put that time in. I thought she played great last week in Washington, and unfortunately, had a very tough draw against Camila Georgi in the first round last night.

"But I think she's playing some great tennis. So, I feel when she's back on the courts at US Open, they really suit her and hopefully some positive vibes will help as well."

Robson, a former Junior Wimbledon champion in 2008, won the WTA Newcomer of the Year prize in 2012 after claiming a silver medal alongside Andy Murray in the mixed doubles at London 2012, but ultimately struggled with a succession of injuries before her retirement this year.

She is loathe to draw parallels between her own experiences and those of Raducanu but hopes time can be afforded to the youngster.

"I mean, I wouldn't even compare my situation to hers, because Emma came through so quickly that it feels like she's only just catching her breath," she added.

"She just needs time to manage her own expectations. I hope she's not even thinking about anyone else's expectations because they really don't matter in the grand scheme of things.

"I think she just needs a good amount of training work, which I know she has been doing anyway. And the results will come because they think she's an incredible ball striker and a great athlete as well."

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