Sun, 22 May 2022

After blister strikes, Emma Raducanu bounced in Australia

Field Level Media
21 Jan 2022, 01:40 GMT+10

Danka Kovinic will take her No. 98 world ranking into the third round of the Australian Open after defeating Britain's Emma Raducanu in three sets.

Raducanu took the court with a heavily bandaged hand and index finger because of blisters on her racquet hand but surged to a 3-0 lead and held her own for most of the match before falling 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

"Before the match there were some people in my team who didn't want me to play. I thought it was a pretty good learning experience for me -- I learnt I had some tools that I didn't know I had before," Raducanu, the No. 17 seed, said. "I do not hit slice forehands, I probably hit more in that match than I did in the last three years. I've learnt that I have some hand skills, and it's not too bad -- that was a positive surprise for myself. I'm proud of how I kept fighting -- even in those situations where I was struggling. I kept hanging in there, I'm proud of that as well."

France's Alize Cornet, unseeded at the Australian Open, took down third-seeded Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-3 and the 61st-ranked player in the world needed only 90 minutes to notch the win.

Raducanu said her fitness level was not to expectations thanks to a bout with COVID-19 in December that forced her out of last week's event at Adelaide. She advanced to the second round in Melbourne with an opening victory against American Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.

Unseeded Kovinic (Montenegro) has never reached the final 32 of a Grand Slam event. Heat seemed to play a factor for both players, and Kovinic employed an extended bathroom break after frustration surfaced in her failure to close out the injured foe in two sets.

"It was a really nice experience to play Emma here and make the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time after many years," Kovinic said. "Emma has had amazing results, winning a Grand Slam at such a young age. She is an amazing talent. I'm just so happy I could play such a high level. I was a little bit low in my energy through the third set so I tried to focus on myself, not show much emotion and save my energy."

Romania's Simona Halep, the 14th seed, advanced in a straight sets win over Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia.

No. 6 seed Annet Kontaveit of Estonia lost to Denmark's Clara Tauson in straight sets. Tauson is ranked 39th in the world and faces American Danielle Collins in the round of 32.

Collins, the 27th seed and a two-time NCAA singles champion at Virginia, advanced by defeating Croatia's Ana Konjuh 6-4, 6-3. The 28-year-old Collins reached the Australian Open semifinals in 2019.

--Field Level Media

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