Qatar Open: Emma Raducanu knocked out in first round by Anhelina Kalinina

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu faced the consequences of a sluggish beginning in her match against Anhelina Kalinina at the Qatar Open, which ultimately led to her unfortunate 6-0 7-6 loss in the first round.

Emma Raducanu - Figure 1
Photo Sky Sports

The British player struggled during the brief 22-minute first set but made significant progress and showcased better skills in the second set, which was much more challenging.

Raducanu displayed remarkable determination in rescuing two match points whilst Kalinina was serving to wrap up the game at 6-5. She was then presented with an opportunity to take a set point in the tie-break, but unfortunately failed to do so and subsequently lost the tie-break 8-6.

Raducanu has recently experienced a setback in her tennis career, as she has been eliminated in the first round of a tournament for the first time in the last four events. This news comes after the 21-year-old athlete had taken a break from the sport for eight months to heal from an injury.

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Raducanu stated to Sky Sports that she found it challenging to execute everything, including her serve, return, forehand, and backhand.

Honestly, I didn't quite feel engaged in it. It could be a mix of factors. It was my initial game in a year, so it felt unusual.

To be truthful, I reckon I should practice my training outdoors more often since it's quite distinct from indoor training. The lighting, surroundings, and shadows make it truly tough to keep an eye on the ball, as I discovered towards the end.

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"When tennis is absent, one should make an effort to resist and I believe I accomplished that in the second set."

Kalinina, a tennis player ranked 30th in the world, has emerged victorious in both of her previous WTA Tour matches against Raducanu. She is set to play against the 8th seed, Jelena Ostapenko, in the second round of the Doha tournament.

Raducanu's Slow Start Proves Costly

Raducanu started the game with an undeniably poor set, which was her worst performance since recovering from her injury.

The winner of the 2021 US Open seemed to be lacking in vigor and gave away game after game to Kalinina, who simply had to keep the ball within the boundaries of the court to secure her victory.

Raducanu only scored 10 points and committed 15 errors without any pressure as the first round concluded very quickly.

Raducanu Versus Kalinina: A Comparison

Despite a string of unsuccessful performances, Raducanu's fighting spirit surfaced in the second set when Kalinina took an early lead by breaking her serve in the opening game. While she struggled to regain her top form, Raducanu showed the grit and resilience that she has become renowned for.

Emma Raducanu - Figure 2
Photo Sky Sports

As soon as she managed to break her opponent's serve right after losing her own, her groundstrokes had more power. This gave her the advantage to win the first game of the match. She then confirmed her lead by holding her serve, putting her ahead on the scoreboard.

Although she played better tennis in the first set, she continued to make some mistakes along with her consistent winners. This led to her feeling the heat while serving.

Raducanu hit some amazing shots to prevent her opponent from breaking her serve five times when the score was tied 3-3. However, she was unable to avoid being in a difficult situation again when the score was tied 5-5.

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Kalinina seemed like she had finished the task at hand as she gained a 40-15 lead while serving for the match. However, she made a mistake, and Raducanu hit a powerful forehand along the sideline, resulting in a deuce.

The British player would use her opponent's anger to her advantage and win a game, causing a tie-breaker.

Raducanu had the opportunity to create a decisive moment in the match when she made a powerful return that led to a set point on her serve at 6-5. However, Kalinina managed to outlast her in the longest point of the match. Raducanu may have felt remorse for not being more assertive with her forehands during the exchange.

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The next moment in the game was impressive, as Raducanu failed to hit a backhand shot to an unoccupied area, giving Kalinina yet another chance to win the game.

On this occasion, the Ukrainian athlete succeeded and defeated Raducanu due to her backhand error, concluding a remarkable 77-minute second set.

Raducanu Needs To Limit Unforced Errors: Robson

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Laura Robson was featured on the Sky Sports Tennis section.

When analyzing the game, the initial point to consider is the forty-eight voluntary mistakes made by the player.

What can be done to reduce the number of mistakes in upcoming games? While she managed to decrease the errors as the match progressed, it was almost too late because Kalinina gained considerable confidence in her backhand towards the end of the game.

That's the gist of it.

Once Kalinina successfully hit a backhand shot that crossed the court, Emma had difficulty hitting her forehand with enough range, which impacted the depth of her play.

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