Emma Raducanu, the top-ranked player in the United Kingdom, was eliminated from the Australian Open after falling to Coco Gauff in a thrilling second-round encounter.
The 77th-ranked Raducanu performed admirably against the seventh-seeded American, but her lack of experience cost her the match, 6-3 7-6 (7-4)
Before the Melbourne major, the 20-year-old had been battling an ankle issue.
The top male player in Britain, Cameron Norrie, advanced to the third round with a late-night victory over Constant Lestienne.
The 11th seed Norrie defeated the French world number 55, who was playing in his first Grand Slam main-draw match at the age of 30, 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 at 01:28 local time.
However, Raducanu’s exit means that there is no longer any British interest in the women’s singles. Andy Murray and Dan Evans may join Norrie in the third round when they play on Thursday.
Raducanu “never doubts” her ability to defeat the greatest.
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Observations following Gauff’s victory over Raducanu in Melbourne
Since her shocking 2021 US Open victory, Raducanu has not advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament.
A different result might have occurred if she had been able to convert one of her two set points at 5-4 in the second set, which would have necessitated a deciding set.
“I believe I was both taking and having a lot of chances. It absolutely stinks to lose, “Raducanu stated.
“Coco is a fantastic athlete and mover. Then she teases mistakes out of you by putting another ball into play, making you feel like you need to get it closer to the goal.”
Gauff, a teenager who made headlines by making it to the Wimbledon round of 16 as a 15-year-old in 2019, is one among the favorites to win the championship at Melbourne Park.
The 18-year-old Gauff stated, “I encouraged myself to hang in there, Emma played really amazing tennis towards the finish of the match.”
“For the most part, it was a match of good quality. I’m delighted it worked out for the crowd because this match-up had been eagerly awaited for a while.”
Raducanu can be happy and proud of his performance.
Even getting on the court at Melbourne Park this week after her ankle injury she sustained in Auckland 13 days ago, Raducanu acknowledged, had been a “huge success.”
She had to withdraw from the match against Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova due to rolling her left ankle, which left Raducanu in tears as she exited the court.
She claimed she “completely trusted” the ankle before facing German Tamara Korpatsch in her opening match, but Gauff was always going to test her movement more.
In a match full of gripping baseline rallies, Raducanu squared off against the French Open finalist without seeming to be affected by the problem.
As the game progressed, Raducanu gained self-assurance, playing aggressively and precisely with her groundstrokes to pin Gauff back.
Gauff wasted those two set opportunities by putting a somewhat impatient backhand long and then a drop-shot into the net. Her inexperience on the court also showed in some errant shots that let Gauff off the hook at crucial times.
Even if losing is painful, Raducanu will definitely remember this performance with pride and optimism for the future.