Emma Raducanu: British tennis star, 18, loses first match since winning US Open in New York | US News

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Emma Raducanu’s return to the field after her sensational US Open triumph ended in loss, after being beaten in the second round at Indian Wells.

The 18-year-old Briton claimed glory in New York with all-out attacking style in September, but couldn’t replicate that level in the California desert – losing 6-2 6-4 to Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

If it hadn’t been for this incredible victory, defeat for Raducanu would have been quite expected as Sasnovich, currently ranked 100th, is a former top 30 player and an experienced leader of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) circuit.

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After losing the first set, Raducanu had a 4-2 lead over Sasnovich in the second – but ultimately lost 6-2 6-4. Photo: AP

In the first set, Raducanu made several unforced errors and was caught by Sasnovich’s courageous defense.

She recovered some momentum in the second set and a comeback was on the schedule as she led 4-2, but the mistakes returned and Sasnovich won four games to claim the victory.

When asked what was the crucial factor at 4-2 in the second set, Raducanu replied: “Well, his experience probably.

“She’s been on tour, probably 4-2 like a hundred times, when I was 4-2. This is my third WTA tournament this year. I mean, it’ll come in time. It just takes don’t rush … and go on and put my head back to the drawing board, really.

“You definitely get sharp playing games. I’m not too tight right now. For example, I haven’t played competitively in a month since the US Open. It will just come from playing week after week.

“I didn’t go there to put pressure on myself because in my mind I’m so inexperienced… I just take it all.

“You’re going to have highs and you are always going to have lows where you are disappointed with your performance. Aliaksandra played a really good game.

“She played, you can tell she’s more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than me. She, of course, deserved to win this.”

Alaksandra Sasnovich hits Emma Raducanu at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Friday, October 8, 2021 in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo / Mark J. Terrill)
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Sasnovich is currently ranked 100th in the world. Photo: AP

Expectations may have been high, but Raducanu knows she is at the start of her career and not everything is going to go smoothly.

“I think it’s going to take a while for me to really adjust to what’s going on,” she said. “I mean, I’m still so new to everything.

“Like, the experiences that I’m going through right now, while I might not feel 100% amazing right now, I know they are for the greater good.

“For the big picture, I’ll thank this moment. So that’s the lesson I think, that you can easily be sucked into being so focused on the outcome and being disappointed.

“I mean, I’m 18. I have to relax a bit.”


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