Emma Raducanu’s charge at the Australian Open was hampered by a blister on her dominant right hand.
The Brit was in cruise control during her second-round clash with Danka Kovinic, breaking her opponent twice to race into a 3-0 lead in the first set, when the problem struck.
The hand injury that cropped up in her win over Sloane Stephens on Tuesday appeared again, with the 19-year-old requiring a medical time-out as Kovinic clawed her way back into the match.
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“It actually looks like it’s not just in one place,” said Jo Durie about the injury on Eurosport commentary.
“We know that she couldn’t play for at least 10 days when she was isolating [with Covid] in Abu Dhabi.
“And then you slowly try and come back but she couldn’t practice for too long after that because of Covid. And sometimes this happens. Skin gets soft and you’re just not used to it.”
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The on-court physio gamely tried to apply some tape to Raducanu’s hand in a bid to prevent further damage.
“You can put this stuff on but keeping it on is another thing,” continued Durie.
“It changes how you feel your hand on the racquet. It’s not the same,” said Durie.
It clearly hampered Raducanu, who elected to play a selection of low risk slice shots rather than rely on her powerful – and presumably more painful – groundstrokes. She eventually went down 6-4 4-6 6-3 to Montenegrin world No. 98 Kovinic.
Raducanu has enjoyed a meteoric rise after her stunning run to the US Open title in September, which saw her come through qualifying and reel off 10 straight matches without dropping a set.
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