Raducanu back to the practice court after being rolled over by Rybakina in Sydney

It was a worrying start to the year for the 19-year-old ahead of the Australian Open

Emma Raducanu

US Open champion Emma Raducanu struggled badly as she began her 2022 season, losing to ninth seed Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic 6-0, 6-1.

The Kazakh had made the final in Adelaide last week and was clearly sharp and on form as she used her serve exceptionally well to wrap up the match in 56 minutes.

In contrast, the British No 1 could find no rhythm on serve, racking up double faults, and looking at her new coach Torben Beltz for guidance.

She hit four forehand winners and forced no break points – winning just two out of 15 points on her second serve.

Raducanu – I can brush it off

And following the loss she went straight back to the practice court, telling journalists later: “After the match I got a box of balls and went straight to the practice court. I felt like I could have done some things better in the match, and I wanted to try and fix it straight away, just leave with a better feeling about it.”

She was confident that the defeat was just a glitch, explaining: “Yesterday was pretty much like my second time playing competitive points for like two months, even in practice. I’m confident that I can brush it off and just keep going, keep working, and next week I’ll have a bit of match experience under my belt.”

Raducanu’s start to the season was delayed by a positive Covid-19 diagnosis that forced her to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in December.

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