Emma Raducanu suffers latest blow as she crashes out of…

Emma Raducanu slumped to a straight sets defeat against reigning champion Camila Giorgi at the National Bank Open in Toronto, and admitted she needed to get better at coping with the pace of play at the top level.
The first-round loss marked less than ideal preparations for world No 10 Raducanu, 19, as she looks towards her US Open title defence later this month.

It was a disappointing early exit for Raducanu’s debut in Toronto, the city she was born in before moving to the United Kingdom as a toddler. The one hour 49-minute 7-6(0), 6-2 loss followed a similar pattern to her quarterfinal defeat at last week’s Citi Open to Liudmila Samsonova in Washington, DC, where she was hampered by blisters on her hands.

There, after losing a tightly fought first-set tiebreak, Raducanu wilted against her opponent’s power of momentum and superior experience. The exact same format played out against Italy’s Giorgi.
World No 29 Giorgi – like Samsonova – is a tough opponent who has proven hard to get past for other top-ranked players this season. She is a big-hitter who plays high-risk tennis, sometimes erratically but other times to great effect. So it proved on Tuesday, and with the victory it means she has won seven of her last nine meetings against Top 10 opponents.

“I think it was a really good match, to be honest,” Raducanu said afterwards. “I think that the level was pretty high. Especially in the first set. And Camila is a great opponent. She won this tournament last year. I just need to get better at dealing with players who play probably as quick as she does.”

Raducanu was up a break in both sets, but Giorgi, 29, was on a mission to keep her grip on her tennis crown in Canada, the setting of her greatest career title last season when the WTA 1000 event was played in Montreal. The first set was hugely competitive because of each players’ flakiness on serve.
There were six breaks in the first eight games, neither able to capitalise on any advantage they took as they traded blows from the baseline. It culminated in a tiebreak, but at this point Raducanu fell away, and Giorgi won it 7-0. Raducanu briefly looked like she was launching a comeback, and worked her way to a dogged 2-0 lead in the second set, but Giorgi somehow flipped a switch and turned up the heat thereafter.

She broke back and evened up the score at 2-2, and then won a remarkable 17 consecutive points to set up match point, wrapping things up at her third attempt. Her aggressive approach became unplayable, but Raducanu also shrunk away from the fight where she had previously leaned into gruelling points earlier on in the match. As Giorgi pummelled fierce topspin shots her way, Raducanu appeared dejected. Giorgi hit 31 winners (and as many unforced errors), while Raducanu managed just three.

The match raised more questions for Raducanu, who is looking to wipe a “clean slate” after New York. Since her remarkable victory last September, the British No 1 has found it tricky to navigate her way past similarly ranked opponents to Giorgi, who she beat with ease during that fortnight.
On paper, Raducanu should be beating a player of Giorgi’s calibre, but based on her level of experience and wavering form she has understandably found it difficult to score wins. Her 2022 record stands at 10 losses and 14 wins on tour, suffering first-round exits in Sydney, Guadalajara, Miami, Rome, Nottingham and now Toronto. Since she started working on a “temporary basis” with Russian coach Dmitry Tursunov last month she has two victories and two losses to her name.

With Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open next week likely her final opportunity to get matches under her belt and continue to trial Tursunov in her camp, the countdown to the biggest tournament of Raducanu’s season in New York is truly on.

But while her career remains in its infancy, with barely a full season of tour-level experience under her belt, she was asked to reflect on veteran Serena Williams’s impact on the sport. While Raducanu said she had only ever exchanged a couple of hellos with Williams, and briefly practised on adjacent courts on Tuesday morning in Toronto before rain thwarted their preparations, she said she was “inspired” by the 23-time champion’s longevity.

“It’s incredible, her career,” Raducanu said. “She has achieved so much. And to see her around in this US swing is really inspiring. She keeps playing because she obviously loves the game. I think that longevity of a career is something that a lot of the players and me especially we aspire to achieve as well. “She definitely changed the game. To dominate that much, there’s not really been someone who has dominated like her in the women’s game.”

Emma Raducanu loses to Camila Giorgi, as it happened
Some stats to worry Raducanu
She only won 42 per cent of points on her first serve.
And one that follows on from that stat, she was broken six times.
She wasn’t able to build any momentum in that match and subsequently she has no positive momentum heading into her US Open title defence.

Raducanu is next due to play in Cincinnati
That was a poor performance from the US Open champion – there’s no point in dressing it up. However, this is still her first full year on tour and she’s having to learn fast when coming up again players such as Giorgi – a power player who gives you chances, but who can, as she did, use her aggression to completely blow you away. I am not sure you get many of those types of players at Bromley Tennis Club…
It’s one big learning curve for Raducanu, but that defeat does leave a fair few questions.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button