Emma Raducanu won just one game in her first match of the year as she was swept aside by Elena Rybakina in the opening round of the Sydney International.
Rybakina won 6-0, 6-1 to raise new questions about Raducanu’s form heading into the Australian Open.
The British 19-year-old stunned the tennis world by winning the US Open without dropping a set in August, becoming the first qualifier ever to win a Grand Slam tournament.
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But her results have been patchy since then, losing in the first round at Indian Wells and Linz last year and going out in the quarterfinals of the Transylvania Open.
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This was her first match since recovering from Covid-19 in December and she couldn’t get anything going against Rybakina in a match that lasted just 55 minutes. Raducanu double-faulted three times in her first service game and never seemed to find a rhythm in her play. She was broken five times in total after only winning two of 15 points on her second serve and hitting six double faults. She prevented a double bagel, however, by winning the fourth game of the second set.
Rybakina was coming off a runner-up performance in Adelaide last week, where she lost to world No. 1 Ash Barty in the final. And she never faced a break point against Raducanu as she continued her strong start to the year.
"My serve is a weapon, so I'm always working on it and trying to find some variety," Rybakina said. "For sure, it's my game to play aggressive and my serve is helping a lot."
She clinched the victory over Raducanu with a forehand overhead on her second match point.
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