Raducanu’s Australian Open hopes ended by blisters and Kovinic

Emma Raducanu’s hopes of facing her idol Simona Halep are thwarted for the third time after she is beaten in three sets by lowly-ranked Danka Kovinic; Halep, the 14th seed, goes up against Beatriz Haddad Maia later; Garbine Muguruza is knocked out

Last Updated: 20/01/22 12:10pm

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Emma Raducanu battled through the pain of blisters on her hand but was beaten by lowly-ranked Danka Kovinic
Emma Raducanu battled through the pain of blisters on her hand but was beaten by lowly-ranked Danka Kovinic

Emma Raducanu’s Australian Open debut ended in a painful defeat to Danka Kovinic as she was hampered by blisters on her hand.

The 6-4 4-6 6-3 loss marks the first time the 19-year-old has lost a completed match at a Grand Slam, with her only previous defeat coming when she pulled out with breathing difficulties against Ajla Tomljanovic in the fourth round of Wimbledon.

This was another new situation for Raducanu, who was the big favourite for a Grand Slam match for the first time, but she looked calm initially, rattling through the first three games.

Kovinic dug in, though, and, it soon became clear that all was not well with Raducanu. She called the trainer after five games and took a lengthy medical time-out for treatment to her right hand.

Kovinic (right) is congratulated by Raducanu at the net
Kovinic (right) is congratulated by Raducanu at the net

With the 17th seed clearly hampered on her forehand side, Kovinic made it five games in a row to lead 5-3 and, although Raducanu broke serve in the next game, the Montenegrin took the set.

By the start of the second set, Raducanu was chopping under virtually all her forehands, which unsettled Kovinic.

Raducanu made life uncomfortable for Kovinic, who dropped serve early, but the world No 98 looked like she had got a grip on proceedings when she broke back for 4-4.

The British No 1, who seemed to be enjoying the challenge despite the pain, broke again and managed to serve out the set.

It was clear how much the blister was bothering her as she winced during further treatment but she was able to hit out more early in the decider.

Kovinic got the better of a series of tight games, though, with the match briefly disrupted while a seagull flew circuits of Margaret Court Arena.

Raducanu tried to find a way back but it was Kovinic who prevailed to become the first player from Montenegro to make it to the third round of a Grand Slam.

Third seed Muguruza crashes out; Teen star Tauson on the rise

Garbine Muguruza suffered a shock defeat to Alize Cornet
Garbine Muguruza suffered a shock defeat to Alize Cornet

Two leading names in the women’s draw fell within minutes of each other, with third seed Garbine Muguruza losing to French veteran Alize Cornet 6-3 6-3 and sixth seed Anett Kontaveit beaten 6-2 6-4 by Danish teenager Clara Tauson.

Tauson, the junior champion at Melbourne Park three years ago, is making her senior debut.

Former US Open champion Sam Stosur’s 20th and final Australian Open singles campaign ended in a 6-2 6-2 defeat to 10th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka surrendered the opening set before outclassing China’s Wang Xinyu 1-6 6-4 6-2 and Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek booked her spot in the next round with a 6-2 6-2 win over Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.

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Source : Sky Sports