Emma Raducanu sees her first Grand Slam appearance since wrist and ankle surgeries ended by Wang Yafan in the Australian Open second round.
Australian Open 2024
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-28 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app
Emma Raducanu battled valiantly before running out of steam as her Grand Slam return was ended by China’s Wang Yafan in the Australian Open second round.
Britain’s Raducanu, 21, was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-4 in only her fourth match back after wrist and ankle surgeries which kept her out for almost nine months.
Raducanu looked like she was going to be sick early in the third set and had her blood pressure checked by a doctor.
Despite that, she had chances to break back in the decider but Wang held on.
Raducanu’s exit came immediately after Katie Boulter, who has taken over as British number one, lost to Chinese 12th seed Zheng Qinwen on the same Kia Arena court.
The pair were bidding to set up an all-British meeting in the third round, but instead it is the Chinese pair who will meet on Saturday.
The defeats for Raducanu and Boulter mean there are no British players left in the women’s singles.
Cameron Norrie, who fought back from two sets down to win in five sets earlier on Thursday, is the only remaining player from the nation in the singles draws.
Positive signs for Raducanu despite defeat
For any player coming back from such a long absence, it takes time to reach match sharpness and patience with their progress will be required.
Raducanu, given the long list of physical and mental struggles she has endured since winning the 2021 US Open, even more caution is necessary.
Therefore it was unsurprising – but not necessarily worrying – to see Raducanu suffer physically in the deciding set of a intense battle with 94th-ranked Wang.
The way she scrapped throughout a three-hour contest, and showed glimpses of her undoubted quality, was encouraging and admirable.
More to follow.
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