Emma Raducanu's momentum in 2023 has been halted once again after she suffered a first round exit at the hands of Bianca Andreescu at the Miami Open. The two former US Open winners are both looking to recapture their top tennis after a spate of injuries that have disrupted their recent form.
However, it was Andreescu who prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-2 after she served seven aces and saved 11 of the 12 break points she faced against Raducanu on Wednesday. The loss will be tough setback for Raducanu who was hoping to gain momentum after reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells, before World No.1 Iga Swiatek knocked her out of the tournament.
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Despite the tough loss, Raducanu once again showed signs of improvement with her movement getting better with every tournament. Andreescu jumped out to an early lead in the first set and didn't look back as she held her nerve.
Raducanu turned into the aggressor in the second set and got the edge she needed in a wild eighth game that she won on her seventh break point for a 5-3 lead before serving out the set. However, in the deciding set, Andreescu held her nerve on the bigger points that gave her the competitive advantage.
World No.31 Andreescu came back from 0-40 to hold serve in the opening game and broke for a 4-2 lead when Raducanu desperately reached for a one-handed backhand that she sent long. With the finish line in sight, Andreescu ended the two hour 32 minute clash on her first match point with another break when Raducanu sent a running forehand long.
Raducanu can hold her head-up high after the tough battle with another former US Open champ, but losing in the first round will once again make things tough for the British 20-year-old who is attempting to stop her rankings slide. Fans were full of praise for Raducanu, but lamented the tough loss.
It seems strange to think about Bianca Andreescu and Emma Raducanu being on the comeback trail when they’re aged 22 and 20 respectively, and won the 2019 and 2021 US Opens.
But they are. And facing each other now in Miami. Still two of the most exciting players in tennis.
— David Law (@DavidLawTennis) March 22, 2023
In a match of Canadian-born women of Romanian descent in their early 20s who won the US Open as teenagers, have a winning record against Serena Williams and are sponsored by Nike, Andreescu defeats Raducanu 6-3 3-6 6-2
— Bastien Fachan (@BastienFachan) March 22, 2023
Tough draw for Emma.
— Arrin Villareal (@arrinv) March 22, 2023
hope emma gets back in form soon
— aneesh (@aneeshdugg) March 22, 2023
On the plus side, her fitness has improved, a good sign for the future 👍
— BriWestMidsUK (@Deltic1944) March 22, 2023
Good signs for Emma imho. What luck there was definitely went to the Canadian.
— Rob Collins (@robcollins2016) March 22, 2023
Bianca Andreescu advances at Miami Open
The Canadian was confident after the two hour, 32-minute clash and said she was ready to make a charge at the WTA 1000 event. "I just came in here wanting to play my best with what I had today, I think I did that," Andreescu said during her on-court interview.
"I didn't let my negative emotions get the best of me. I stayed positive, I was very energetic and I just never gave up. Those were the keys today."
Andreescu, who retired with a shoulder injury during her semi-final match at the Thailand Open in February, is still looking for her first title since the 2019 US Open. The Canadian also lost to Iga Swiatek at Indian Wells last week.
Raducanu, who came to Miami after losing to Swiatek in the fourth round at Indian Wells, has also been plagued by injury and inconsistency since she burst onto the scene with her stunning triumph at the 2021 US Open. In addition to the wrist injury that cut short her 2022 season, Raducanu suffered an ankle problem in the lead-up to the Australian Open and tonsillitis forced her to withdraw from the Austin Open last month.
"It is something I've been managing for some time," she told Tennis Majors about the wrist problem. "And, yeah, I just need to review after this tournament really and figure out what my next steps are.
"We have been managing it, keeping on top of it. I'm able to play in the short-term. But the current solutions aren't very viable long-term."
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