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Raducanu's grand slam return ends in valiant battle against Wang Yafan at Australian Open

Posted : 18 January 2024

Emma Raducanu displayed grit and determination in her Australian Open second-round clash against China's Wang Yafan, marking her Grand Slam return after a nine-month hiatus due to wrist and ankle surgeries. Despite a valiant effort, Raducanu succumbed to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 defeat.


In only her fourth match back, the 21-year-old faced physical challenges, including a moment of feeling nauseous in the third set, requiring a doctor's assessment of her blood pressure. Despite the setbacks, Raducanu fought back, showcasing her resilience and undoubted quality in a three-hour battle.


Katie Boulter, the new British women's number one, also faced disappointment on the same court, losing to Chinese 12th seed Zheng Qinwen. The anticipated all-British third-round clash was dashed, with the Chinese pair set to meet.


Raducanu and Boulter's exits leave no British players in the women's singles, with Cameron Norrie standing as the sole representative from the nation in the singles draws, having staged a remarkable comeback earlier in the day.


Raducanu's journey back to peak performance is expected to be gradual, given the extensive physical and mental challenges she has faced since her 2021 US Open triumph. The intense battle against Wang highlighted glimpses of her quality, and her determination to compete on the grand stage was evident.


Despite the defeat, Raducanu's resilience and ability to elevate her game are promising signs for her future in the sport, requiring patience and caution as she continues her comeback.


Facing a skilled opponent in challenging conditions, Raducanu struggled in the opening set, but her response in the second set showcased her ability to increase her level of play. The match's intensity led to a deciding set where Raducanu faced breathing difficulties and moments of feeling nauseous.


Despite these challenges, she continued to fight, with opportunities to break back in the decider. Wang's solid performance ultimately secured her victory, marking her first Grand Slam third-round entry.


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