Crowds came flocking back in force, we had the full complement of golf majors and tennis grand slams, and sport almost ran smoothly over the past 12 months.

To boot, there were sensational moments, featuring both the biggest names in sport and some that few had heard of at this time last year.

Here, Stats Perform looks back at some of the biggest stories of the year, and the numbers that made them so remarkable.

Jacobs, the shock Tokyo Olympics sprint king

Entering 2021, Italy's Lamont Marcell Jacobs had a career-best of 10.03 seconds for the 100 metres. By most standards that is staggeringly quick, but at the very elite level of sprinting it ranks as only middling. To put it into some context, 34 men ran quicker than 10.03 seconds in 2021. Jacobs finished only 19th at the 2019 World Championship and few outside of athletics circles knew the name. The former long-jumper grabbed a little attention when he produced a world-leading 6.47 seconds to win the 60 metres at the European Indoor Championships in March, then he ran 9.95 for the 100m in Savona in May, but he still headed to the Tokyo Olympics as a big outsider, not expected to be a factor. Jacobs made a mockery of his lowly billing, as he powered to personal bests in the heats and semi-finals before doing so again in the final, dashing home first in 9.80 seconds to grab gold and leaving rivals gasping in astonishment. He led Italy to sprint relay gold too, a glorious double in that country's remarkable year of success.

Emma Raducan-who? From A level exams to US Open top marks

Twelve months ago – no, make that barely six – London-based Raducanu was simply not a factor in grand slam discussions. Fresh out of school, she had to fight to earn a wildcard for Wimbledon when organisers initially baulked at the idea, but they were persuaded and Raducanu went on to reach the fourth round. The teenager who was born in Canada and has a Romanian father and Chinese mother had arrived, but it was at the US Open that she roared into the history books. There was no wildcard in New York for the British youngster, but Raducanu won three qualifying matches and then raced through the main draw, defeating 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the title match. She did not drop a set in 10 matches and became the first women in the Open era to win 10 main-draw matches in her first two grand slams. It made her the first qualifier to win a slam and the first US Open women's singles winner since Serena Williams in 2014 to triumph at the tournament without dropping a set along the way. The $2.5million in prize money was followed by endorsement offers from across the world as Raducanu became an instant superstar. The tennis world waits to see what comes next.

No country for old men as US win Ryder Cup

The youngest Ryder Cup team ever assembled by the United States torched European hopes at Whistling Straits in September, scoring a 19-9 victory. That was the widest margin of victory by either side since Europe, rather than Great Britain and Ireland, became the USA's opposition in 1979. Dustin Johnson bounced back from losing four of his five matches in the 2018 edition to finish with a 5-0 record, just the third player in US v Europe battles to finish with a perfect record (after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018). Johnson, at 37, was the oldest player on the team. European veteran Lee Westwood matched Nick Faldo's record of 11 appearances in the match, while Sergio Garcia stretched his points record from 25.5 to 28.5 as he and Jon Rahm combined well, but it was emphatically an event that belonged to the host Americans.

Veteran Mickelson still had his day 

He might have been absent for the US team's Ryder Cup triumph, but Phil Mickelson's name was up in lights again as he became the oldest winner of a men's golf major, landing the US PGA Championship title in May. At the age of 50, Mickelson caused a huge upset at Kiawah Island, scooping his sixth career major when he held off Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen on the final day. It was his only top-10 finish of the year on the PGA Tour.

Federer bagelled, Djokovic denied Golden Slam

Strange things happened in men's tennis in 2021, not least the sight of Roger Federer suffering a 6-0 'bagel' at the end of a straight-sets Wimbledon quarter-final defeat. That happened against Hubert Hurkacz in July, and it was the last match Federer played in the year. He wants to play again, and the 40-year-old believes he can, but knee surgery will keep him out of action until mid-2022 at the earliest, by his own reckoning, and that Centre Court defeat to Hurkacz could turn out to be how his eight-title Wimbledon career ends. Novak Djokovic joined Federer and Nadal on a joint-record 20 grand slam titles by cleaning up at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and he has now spent a record 353 weeks at number one, passing Federer this year. But Djokovic could not make it a Golden Slam, losing to eventual champion Alexander Zverev in the Olympic Games semi-finals, and a Grand Slam was just beyond him too, Daniil Medvedev winning his first major when he swept the Serbian in straight sets in the US Open final.

Another year, more records for Brady

At the age of 43, Tom Brady was MVP in the Super Bowl as he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in February. He now has seven Super Bowl wins behind him, another outright record, and has been MVP in the game on an unmatched five occasions. Brady, having turned 44 in August, is in the hunt for another Super Bowl ring and perhaps outright NFL MVP honours this season, although Aaron Rodgers will likely deny him the latter accolade. Still, the records keep coming for Brady. He has moved in front of Drew Brees to have the most pass completions in league history (7,200 and counting), become the first ever 15-time Pro Bowler, and in December became the first quarterback to throw 700 career touchdowns.

England's Ashes surrender calls for Root and branch review

Joe Root became the first England captain – or player, indeed – to suffer nine defeats in Tests starting in a single calendar year, in a strange 12 months for the Yorkshireman. His form with the bat has been up there with the best of his career, the 31-year-old scoring 1,708 Test runs to go third on the all-time single-year list, with only Mohammad Yousuf and Viv Richards ahead of him. Even in the Tests that England have lost, Root has made a number of handy contributions with the bat, scoring 648 runs at an average of 38.11. Overall he has scored 26 per cent of England's Test runs across the year, the highest proportion of any player for their respective team in 2021. Yet the Ashes were lost by lunch on day three of the third Test, an outrageously dismal result. Root top-scored in England's two innings in Melbourne, typically, but he cannot get a tune out of many of his team-mates, so ends the year with his future as skipper in doubt.

Curry still hot as NBA records fall

In January, LaMelo Ball became the youngest player to post a triple-double in the NBA, as the 19-year-old Charlotte Hornets prospect grabbed 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over the Atlanta Hawks. Come December, the Memphis Grizzlies set two records in the same game, scoring a franchise-high number of points and winning by the biggest margin in NBA history, as they handed out a 152-79 thrashing to the Oklahoma City Thunder. December was also the month when Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors set a new three-pointer record, becoming the first man to make 3,000 threes in a career after going past Ray Allen's previous NBA record of 2,973.

Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of next month's Australian Open and is experiencing "severe" symptoms.

World number 23 Bencic returned a positive test, along with Ons Jabeur, after competing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The pair are the third and fourth players to have tested positive after travelling to the Abu Dhabi event, following 2021 US Open winner Emma Raducanu and 20-time major winner Rafael Nadal.

Bencic wrote on Twitter: "Unfortunately and even though I am fully vaccinated, I recently tested positive for Covid-19.

"I am currently isolating and taking all precautionary [measures] to get through this as best as possible as I am experiencing quite severe symptoms (fever, aches, chills)."

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship typically serves as a warm-up event prior to the Australian Open which is due to begin on January 17 in Melbourne.

World number 10 Jabeur, who defeated Bencic in Abu Dhabi, is experiencing "strong symptoms" and isolating in her native Tunisia.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu will miss this week's Mubadala World Tennis Championship after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 19-year-old had been due to take on Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

However, Raducanu announced on Monday that she will not be able to take part in the tournament as she is now self-isolating. 

"I was very much looking forward to playing in front of the fans here in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately after testing positive for Covid-19, I will have to postpone until the next opportunity," Raducanu said.

"I'm isolating as per rules and hopefully will be able to get back on court soon."

Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a grand slam title with victory at Flushing Meadows in September, but she has won just two of her five matches since then.

The British teenager, who recently appointed Torben Beltz as her new coach after parting company with Andrew Richardson, will next be in action at the Melbourne Summer Set early in the new year as preparation for the Australian Open.

World number one Ash Barty will start her 2022 season at the Adelaide International along with eight of the other current 10 top players in the world.

Barty has held top spot in the women's rankings since September 2019 and collected five titles – including Wimbledon – in the 2021 season but missed the French Open with a hip injury.

She also opted to not play in the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico due to coronavirus-enforced quarantine concerns that could disrupt her preparation for the following campaign.

The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) confirmed on Friday that Barty would begin her 2022 season in Adelaide on January 2, along with defending champion Iga Swiatek, WTA Finals victor Garbine Muguruza and Roland Garros winner Barbora Krejcikova, as the world's elite players prepare for the Australian Open.

The entry list for the WTA 500 tournaments also includes Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Barbara Bencic, who finished runner-up to Swiatek in 2021, former world number one Karolina Pliskova and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez.

The field boasts 12 major trophies between them, but three grand slam winners will kick-start their seasons in Melbourne the day after.

Naomi Osaka, who is aiming to defend her title at the Australian Open, gets her preparations underway in the Melbourne Summer Set.

Two-time major winner Simona Halep and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu will play in the Melbourne Summer Set.

The trio are among 20 of the top 50 ranked players in the world for the two WTA 250 tournaments starting on January 3, with the entry list split between the competitions the week before matches start.

Raducanu will feature in just her eighth Tour-level event, and her fourth tournament since winning her first major, while Osaka will be appearing for the first time since an early defeat in the third round of the US Open to Fernandez.

Novak Djokovic has been included in the official entry list for the 2022 Australian Open, with Tennis Australia adamant that no loopholes are being explored.

The world number one, who has won nine of his 20 grand slam titles in Melbourne, has not yet disclosed his COVID-19 vaccination status, meaning there is doubt over whether he will be able to participate.

Every person competing or attending the grand slam next month will need to have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

However, despite the uncertainty, the 34-year-old was named in the official list of players for the tournament draw.

Djokovic had already been named in Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, which is to be held in Sydney, leading to speculation that he could enter Australia by travelling directly to New South Wales, which has different COVID-19 restrictions to the state of Victoria, and may then seek a medical exemption to get around the rules applying to unvaccinated travellers.

James Merlino, Victoria's deputy premier, responded to these reports, which also suggested Djokovic had the backing of Tennis Australia.

"My view on this is really clear and really simple," Merlino said on Wednesday. "Everyone's looking forward to the Australian Open and everyone who will attend – spectators, players, officials, staff – everyone is expected to be fully vaccinated.

"They're the rules. Medical exemptions are just that – it's not a loophole for privileged tennis players. It is a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances if you have an acute medical condition."

Tennis Australia responded to Merlino's comments with a statement of their own.

"Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is seeking 'loopholes' within this process is simply untrue. Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts. We are not in a position to influence this process and nor would we," the statement read.

"Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) clinical advice. This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia."

While Djokovic's participation is unclear, Serena Williams is a big-name absentee. The 40-year-old, who is one shy of matching Margaret Court's record tally of 23 grand slams, had been expected to play in Melbourne.

Roger Federer had already confirmed his absence, but Rafael Nadal is set to compete for the first time since August.

World number two and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev takes his place in the draw, as does 2020 Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

Australian world number one Ash Barty headlines the women's field, with Naomi Osaka, US Open winner Emma Raducanu and WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza also in the draw.

Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, has decided to skip the event to focus on her mental wellbeing.

Ash Barty has won the WTA's Player of the Year award for a second time, while Emma Raducanu's sensational 2021 season was capped with the Newcomer of the Year prize on Tuesday.

Barty collected the tour's top individual year-end award in 2019, having won the French Open and finished that season as the world number one.

And after Sofia Kenin succeeded her in 2020, Barty is back on top this year.

This was the third straight season the Australian superstar claimed the year-end number one ranking, and it saw her land a second major title at Wimbledon. Barty's five WTA titles in 2021 were unsurpassed.

But she has had to share the limelight in recent months with Raducanu, and that was the case again as the 19-year-old Briton was unsurprisingly hailed as the tour's star newcomer.

Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a grand slam when she swept to glory at the US Open, having also impressed in a run to the last 16 at Wimbledon.

The teenager, who has risen from 343rd to 19th in the rankings in the past year, won 10 straight matches without dropping a set from the first qualifying round to the final at Flushing Meadows.

Elsewhere, Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova collected a pair of awards, scooping Most Improved Player and, alongside Olympic, WTA Finals and French Open-winning partner Katerina Siniakova, the Doubles Team of the Year.

Carla Suarez Navarro, who retired in 2020 and was then diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, returned to the tour cancer free in 2021 for a farewell season and carried off the Comeback Player of the Year award.

Eddie Jones insists he did not intend to criticise US Open champion Emma Raducanu in his recent comments about young sportspeople coping with "distractions".

The England rugby union head coach referred to Raducanu on Saturday when discussing the possibility that fly-half Marcus Smith could face "a flood of distractions" after an impressive cameo in his team's 69-3 win against Tonga.

Jones received criticism after suggesting the 18-year-old Brit had underperformed since she won her first grand slam in September, when she became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a major.

"There's a reason why the girl who won the US Open [Raducanu] hasn't done so well afterwards. What have you seen her on? The front page of Vogue, the front page of Harper's Bazaar, whatever it is, wearing Christian Dior clothes," Jones said at the weekend.

However, he has attempted to clarify his comments, claiming he was not directly criticising Raducanu.

"The whole point was how difficult it is for young players to cope with distractions," Jones told BBC Sport.

"So, the point I made was not wrong. I can't control if it's taken out of context. There was no criticism of Emma.

"I have sent her a letter just to reinforce that and hopefully we'll see her at Twickenham shortly.

"I don't have any misgivings about what I said – I am disappointed it was taken out of context, and I would be disappointed if Emma was upset by it.

"It was deemed as being sexist and that was never the aim of the point."

Raducanu's season came to a frustrating end on Tuesday as she sustained a thigh injury in the process of being knocked out of the Linz Open – in which she was the top seed – by Chinese qualifier Wang Xinyu 6-1 6-7 (0-7) 7-5.

However, the British number one did confirm Torben Beltz as her new coach afterwards, having parted with Andrew Richardson a couple of weeks after her historic US Open success.

 

Emma Raducanu has appointed Torben Beltz as her new coach almost seven weeks after parting company with Andrew Richardson.

The 18-year-old rose to international fame in September when she pulled off the incredible feat of clinching the US Open before ever even winning a single match on the WTA Tour.

Raducanu beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez to become the first qualifier in tennis history to win a grand slam and youngest winner of a women's major since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova took the Wimbledon title in 2004.

But she announced soon after that she and Richardson were no longer working together, with Raducanu continuing in the meantime without a coach as she scoured for someone with more WTA Tour experience.

Since the US Open, she has played just five matches and lost three of them, the latest coming on Tuesday as she suffered a 6-1 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 defeat to Wang Xinyu at the Linz Open, where Raducanu was the top seed.

But as she looks ahead to starting pre-season at the end of November, Raducanu will begin working with Beltz in the hope of building on her incredible breakthrough year.

The German was Angelique Kerber's coach during her US Open and Australian Open successes in 2016, and Raducanu is excited to get started.

Speaking after her defeat in Linz, Raducanu said: "You guys cracked it! It's obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach.

"I'm definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year. I'm feeling excited about all the work that is to come.

"I think he brings a lot of experience. Obviously he's worked with Kerber, who's such a great player and has done extremely well, won three slams. I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me.

"He can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about, and also he's a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team, so I think that's also important when you're travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour."

Emma Raducanu vowed to maintain her focus in the wake of her sensational US Open title as she prepares for her first WTA Tour event as a number one seed. 

Ranked a career-best number 21 in the world, the 18-year-old sensation is atop the singles draw at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz this week. 

Raducanu's remarkable run at Flushing Meadows has generated an avalanche of publicity and requests, but she insisted tennis will remain her top priority. 

"I made it very, very clear to every single person in my team that I was not going to cancel one training session or practice session for any off-court commitments," Raducanu told reporters. 

"That was non-negotiable for me. I wanted to make sure that that is my priority and it is, so everyone is clear about that. But it's just managing my time with the commitments around that."

Raducanu has a bye in the first round and will face the winner of the opening-round match between qualifiers Kateryna Kozlova and Wang Xinyu. 

The teen split with coach Andrew Richardson after the US Open and remains without an official adviser but said she plans to have someone in place by January's Australian Open. 

That was not something she would have anticipated worrying about during last year's tournament in Melbourne, when she was still a full-time student. 

"Only March the 18th was my first session on court in 2021," she said. "And so January, February, March I was literally just sat on my desk staring at a wall for nine hours a day.

"So I feel like where I am now I just need to really take it all in and enjoy because looking back at how far I've come it's pretty surreal.

"I just really need to enjoy it because when I was in the beginning of year I would have never thought this was possible. I'm kind of just really living in the moment right now I feel."

Emma Raducanu's hopes of facing idol Simona Halep in the semi-finals of the Transylvania Open were brutally ended by a crushing defeat to Marta Kostyuk on Friday.

US Open champion Raducanu claimed her first ever regular WTA Tour win in Cluj earlier this week, with the 18-year-old keen to impress in the homeland of her father, but Kostyuk denied her the chance of a dream last-four clash with Halep.

The 19-year-old Ukrainian swept Raducanu aside in just 57 minutes, winning 6-2 6-1 as Kostyuk furthered her own burgeoning reputation in the game by reaching a third semi-final of the year.

Raducanu proved her own worst enemy, her 41 unforced errors more than double Kostyuk's 16, with the latter feeling confident as early as the first game when two double faults helped her break the Briton's serve.

"I don't know how I won the first game, I think that's where everything started," Kostyuk said. "I somehow won that game and I gained this confidence, like I'm not going to lose this match.

"After that, by the fifth game maybe, I figured out how to play her – today. Maybe next time I play it's going to be different tactics."

Top seed Halep enjoyed a similarly straightforward victory as she lost just two games en route to a 6-1 6-1 win over Romanian compatriot Jaqueline Cristian, a particularly impressive feat given she had been suffering with a back injury this week.

That success preserved Halep's 100 per cent record against fellow Romanians.

On the other side of the draw, second seed Anett Kontaveit was also an impressive winner as she disposed of Anhelina Kalinina 6-1 6-3 in just over an hour. Kontaveit has won 24 of her last 26 matches and will be the firm favourite against unseeded Rebecca Peterson, who beat Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 3-6 6-3.

At the Courmayeur Open in Italy, third seed Liudmila Samsonova cruised into the semis thanks to a swift 6-1 6-2 demolition of Anna Kalinskaya. She will meet Clara Tauson – seeded fifth – after the Dane came through a more gruelling 3-6 6-4 6-2 win over Ann Li.

The other semi will be contested by Donna Vekic and Jasmine Paolini, who were straight-sets winners over Wang Xinyu and Dayana Yastremska, respectively.

Emma Raducanu is on course to face her idol Simona Halep for the first time in the Transylvania Open after they both advanced to the quarter-finals on Thursday. 

Raducanu celebrated her first WTA Tour win at the expense of Polona Hercog in Cluj on Tuesday and followed that up with a 6-3 6-4 defeat of Ana Bogdan. 

The 18-year-old US Open champion had a first-serve percentage of 69 and won 87 per cent of those points, breaking three times to move into the last eight. 

Third seed Raducanu said: "It's definitely taking me some time to find my feet still. I'm just taking some learnings from every match that I play. I don't think I'm the finished product yet." 

Next up for the Brit is a meeting with fellow teenager Marta Kostyuk after the sixth seed sent Mona Barthel packing with a 6-4 6-4 victory. 

Halep was troubled by a back injury in a 6-4 6-2 success over Varvara Gracheva in her homeland. 

The two-time grand slam champion played through the pain barrier, breaking twice in each set to progress, and could face Raducanu if she beats fellow Romanian Jaqueline Cristian. 

"The back got blocked and the pain is really big," Halep said in the on-court interview. "You cannot really bend much and you cannot move. 

"But sometimes you are used to the pain, I had this before many times, and I just wanted to continue and finish this match. It's good that I won this match, I don't know how." 

Anett Kontaveit, striving to secure a WTA Finals berth, extended her indoor winning run to 12 matches by seeing off Alison Van Uytvanck 6-3 6-4, while Rebecca Peterson knocked Irina Bara out in straight sets. 

In the Courmayeur Open, Jasmine Paolini came out on top 6-4 7-5 in an all-Italian battle with Lucrezia Stefanini and Zhang Shuai got past Wang Xinyu 7-6 (7-5) 6-4. 

The unseeded Donna Vekic also secured a place in the quarter-finals. 

Emma Raducanu collected her first WTA Tour victory as she defeated Polona Hercog at the Transylvania Open in Romania.

Raducanu, who was the surprise US Open champion in September after not dropping a set throughout the tournament, appeared at just her fourth tour-level tournament and came to Cluj as third favourite.

The 18-year-old had lost opening-round matches at previous events in Nottingham, San Diego and Indian Wells.

However, world number 23 Raducanu finally recorded her first victory as she overcame a first-set scare to triumph over Hercog 4-6 7-5 6-1.

In the opening match of Tuesday's fixtures, sixth seed Marta Kostyuk cruised past Bernard Pera 6-3 6-4 to secure her last-16 berth.

Irina-Camelia Begu, ranked one behind Kostyuk for the tournament, did not enjoy similar fortunes as Romanian compatriot Irina Bara triumphed 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 6-4.

Jaqueline Cristian survived a marathon slog against Kaja Juvan as she came from a set down to win 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 7-6 (7-3) and book a second-round meeting with Ajla Tomljanovic.

Number one seed Simona Halep – who departed at the quarter-final stage of the Kremlin Cup last week – plays her first game on home turf on Wednesday against Elena-Gabriele Rusa and could meet Raducanu in the semi-final stages.

Meanwhile, Liudmila Samsonova, the third favourite at the Courmayeur Open, cruised past Stephanie Wagner 6-3 6-0 while seventh seed Jasmine Paolini comfortably dispatched Martina Di Giuseppe 6-4 6-1.

Shuai Zhang, who is the third seed in Italy, also enjoyed a routine victory as she eased past Jessica Pieri 6-1 6-3 after fourth favourite Petra Martic crashed out 3-6 4-6 to Saisai Zheng.

Jil Teichmann suffered a shock exit in the first round of the Transylvania Open as Anastasia Gasanova came from behind to win 4-6 6-0 7-5.

The competition's fourth seed and world number 39 started off well against Russian Gasanova, who is only ranked 146th by the WTA, but was crushed in the second set and was unable to recover in the decider.

It is a disappointing result for the Swiss, who made it to the final of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati in August, losing to world number one Ashleigh Barty.

Ana Bogdan won 7-6 6-4 on home turf against Ivana Jorovic and will likely play US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the round of 16 if the third seed can beat Polona Hercog on Tuesday.

Raducanu is still without a coach after parting with Andrew Richardson, and she faced the media on Monday, saying: "I am going to find my tennis, I just need a little bit of time.

"I don't think there is any pressure on me. I feel like everyone should just be a little patient with me."

Bogdan will also expect compatriot and top seed Simona Halep, with the two-time grand slam champion facing another Romanian in Elena Gabriela-Ruse on Wednesday, to join her in the next round.

Meanwhile, fifth seed Clara Tauson enjoyed a comfortable 6-2 6-2 win over Stefanie Voegele in the Courmayeur Open in Italy.

Sixth seed Alison Riske and 10th seed Dayana Yastremska both won in straight sets to ensure there were no upsets in today's games, beating Ankita Raina and Vitalia Diatchenko respectively.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from next week's Kremlin Cup.

Raducanu made history last month by becoming the first qualifier to win a major title with her triumph at Flushing Meadows, where she did not drop a single set all tournament.

However, the 18-year-old was beaten in her first match since that breakthrough success with a straight-sets loss to world number 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open last week.

And Raducanu has now taken the decision to pull out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, which takes place next week.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Briton did not give a reason for her withdrawal but suggested she could return for the Transylvania Open later this month.

"Unfortunately I've had to make a tournament schedule change and won't be able to play Moscow this year, but I hope to compete there and in front of the Russian fans next year," said Raducanu, who is also due to compete at the Linz Open before the season is out.

"I look forward to returning to the tour in the next couple of weeks."

Speaking after her defeat to Sasnovich, Raducanu said she will need time to come to terms with her maiden grand slam triumph.

"I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson. So going forward, I'll just have more experienced banked," she said.

"I think it’s going to take me time to adjust really to what's going on. I mean, I'm still so new to everything. I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is refusing to be downcast after her defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, insisting that she is focused on "the bigger picture".

The 18-year-old's 10-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at the Indian Wells Open – just her fifth tour-level event – as Sasnovich won in straight sets.

Sasnovich is ranked 100th in the world, but the 27-year-old has 16 career victories over opponents in the top 20, with Raducanu ranking 17th, and six over those in the top 10.

Raducanu cites the experience gap between herself and Sasnovich as a major factor in her defeat and believes that the loss can be taken as a positive lesson.

"I'm still very, very new to the tour," Raducanu said. "I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened, so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked.

"[Sasnovich's] been on tour, probably been 4-2 down like hundreds of times whereas I've been 4-2 up... it's my third WTA tournament this year. [Experience] will come in time. Just got to not rush it and keep going and get my head back to the drawing board really.

"I didn't go in there putting any pressure on myself because in my mind I'm so inexperienced that I'm just taking it all in. You're going to have highs, and you're always going to have some lows where you're disappointed with how you performed.

"Aliaksandra played an extremely great match. You could tell she's more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than I did. She deserved to win that.

"I think it's going to take me time to adjust, really, to what's going on. For the bigger picture, I'll be thanking this moment. That's the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed."

Raducanu is set to take part at the Transylvania Open that starts on October 25, as well as the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

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