Emma Raducanu’s season ends with painful Linz defeat to Wang Xinyu

  • Injured Raducanu suffers 6-1, 6-7 (0), 7-5 second-round loss
  • Andy Murray wins in second round of Stockholm Open

Emma Raducanu arrived in Linz with the simple goal of gaining more experience and match play in her final week of an unimaginably intense year, but she was unable to avoid that enormous, growing target on her back.

Starting, illogically, as the top seed in just her seventh tour event, Raducanu fought until the end but succumbed to an impressive opponent and a hip spasm in the final games, losing 6-1, 6-7 (0), 7-5 to Wang Xinyu of China in a high quality second round match at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.

After her defeat, Raducanu was in positive spirits as she dissected her match with a smile on her face, noting her opponent’s performance and her satisfaction at her own level. “I thought that it was a really high level match. I thought that Xinyu played extremely well, especially the first set. I’m proud of the way that I performed to try and get back in the match when everything was going her way and she was playing extremely well,” she said.

Raducanu was facing a talented contemporary who enjoyed a more spectacular junior career, reaching number two in the ITF rankings. Wang, 20, had advanced through qualifying and she has been in strong form for weeks. She produced a dominant first set, controlling the baseline with her forehand as she finished the set with 13 winners and just three unforced errors.

But even as she struggled to win games, Raducanu was fully invested and she continually fought through the second set, roaring after victorious points and mouthing “fight” to herself between rallies. As Raducanu remained in touch, Wang’s level had significantly dropped and they soon found themselves in a tiebreak, which Raducanu played flawlessly to level the match.

Throughout an intense third set filled with big shotmaking and high octane exchanges, both talented young players performed at a relatively high level and they held all eight games to reach 4-4. But after a particularly bruising rally on the opening point, Raducanu pulled up with a hip spasm. She lost the game to love and took a medical timeout before saving two match points to brilliantly reach 5-5. Wang’s focus, however, did not waver and she quickly reeled off the final two games to seal her victory.

Wang Xinyu maintained her momentum after winning three matches to reach the second round.
Wang Xinyu maintained her momentum after winning three matches to reach the second round. Photograph: Barbara Gindl/APA/AFP/Getty Images

Raducanu finishes her breakout season with a 2-3 record since her US Open triumph. That she has not immediately adjusted to the week-by-week grind of the tour with so little experience was predictable and there is no shame in it. She is still learning what it means to be a professional player at the highest level, which she has frequently acknowledged.

“A lot has happened this year,” she said. “Where I was in January, February, March, I would have taken it. I have learnt how much room I have to develop physically and what playing on the tour week in, week out actually needs because clearly my body is still trying to get up to speed. I was honestly quite happy with the level I put out and tried to fight back.”

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks.

With her season now finished, Raducanu, who turns 19 on Saturday, can now take a rare holiday. “I haven’t been on a holiday for seven years, so it would be nice to have an opportunity to go somewhere,” she said, smiling. When she returns, she will start work with her new coach, Torben Beltz, as they prepare for her first full season on the tour.

Andy Murray advanced to the second round of the Stockholm Open, his final tournament of the year, with a 6-1, 7-6 (7) win over Viktor Durasovic, a 354-ranked Norwegian qualifier. Murray, who is holding a coaching trial with the Spaniard Esteban Carril, now has a far loftier challenge in his second round match against Jannik Sinner, the top seed.

Contributor

Tumaini Carayol

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon breakout is a rare bubble success story | Tumaini Carayol
The 18-year-old takes on Ajla Tomljanovic on Monday and her emergence has been aided by the public glare being less harsh

Tumaini Carayol at Wimbledon

04, Jul, 2021 @9:30 PM

Article image
Andy Murray welcomes investment in wake of Emma Raducanu’s success
Andy Murray has welcomed a £22m government investment in public tennis courts in the wake of Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory

Tumaini Carayol

06, Oct, 2021 @9:18 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu’s win was a fantastic surprise – it must inspire a generation
The LTA deserves credit for the teenager’s US Open triumph but only government investment will take tennis to the masses

Simon Cambers

15, Sep, 2021 @4:10 PM

Article image
Anatomy of a tennis sensation: Emma Raducanu’s run to final is no fluke
A breakdown of the 18-year-old Emma Raducanu’s strengths reveals power on both wings but she can still improve her drop shot and slice

Tumaini Carayol

10, Sep, 2021 @12:58 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu’s US Open win was a glorious aligning of the fates | Jonathan Liew
Emma Raducanu’s victory came out of nowhere so it needs perspective – we cannot expect her to keep doing this in majors

Jonathan Liew

12, Sep, 2021 @4:39 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu out of Transylvania Open after defeat to Marta Kostyuk
The 18-year-old US Open champion’s solid run in Romania ended in a 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine, a fellow teenager

Tumaini Carayol in Cluj-Napoca

29, Oct, 2021 @6:08 PM

Article image
British teenager Emma Raducanu extends thrilling Wimbledon debut
It’s 44 years since a British woman won Wimbledon but in Emma Raducanu we may just have uncovered the next home-grown star

Simon Cambers

01, Jul, 2021 @9:07 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu reaps benefit of multi-sports background | Sean Ingle
The new US Open champion honed her skills in activities from ballet to go-karting before concentrating on tennis

Sean Ingle

13, Sep, 2021 @3:29 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu out of Wimbledon after retiring with medical problem
Emma Raducanu was forced to retire with a medical problem when trailing 6-4, 3-0 in her last-16 match against the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic

Tumaini Carayol at Wimbledon

05, Jul, 2021 @9:10 PM

Article image
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez usher in dynamic new era | Tumaini Carayol
Teenagers seemed to have been muscled out before the extraordinary form shown by the two youngsters at the US Open

Tumaini Carayol

11, Sep, 2021 @7:00 AM