Emma Raducanu is in major doubt for the Australian Open after suffering an ankle injury at the Auckland International on Thursday night. The former US Open champ left the court in tears after retiring hurt at one-set all against Viktoria Kuzmova.
The match had been moved indoors due to rain in Auckland, and the 20-year-old Raducanu appeared to slip on the indoor surface during a rally. The Brit lashed out after the match, saying: "It's difficult to take. I've put a lot of physical work in the last few months and I've been feeling good and optimistic.
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"So to be stopped by a freak injury, rolling an ankle is pretty disappointing, in the first week as well. I thought I was playing some pretty decent tennis.
"The courts are incredibly slick, like very slippery, so to be honest it's not a surprise that this happened to someone. It's out of my control and after a very long day of waiting around. But we'll assess over the next few days and see what the next steps are."
Raducanu had dominated the first set 6-0 before Kuzmova hit back to take the second 7-5. Raducanu then called it quits after seeing the trainer before the third.
The 20-year-old shocked the tennis world in 2021 when she won the US Open as a qualifier. It marked the first time in tennis history that a qualifier had won a grand slam.
She was marked as a future superstar of tennis but was unable to stay on the court in 2022 and tumbled down the rankings due to a number of injuries. She ended her season early after suffering a wrist injury in October, but had started 2023 with a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over emerging Czech talent Linda Fruhvirtova on Tuesday.
Fans were left shattered for Raducanu considering her horrible run of injuries.
Venus Williams loses in Auckland
Meanwhile, American veteran Venus Williams lost to Zhu Lin of China after blowing a 5-3 lead in the third set. The 42-year-old Williams eventually went down in a match that stretched over nearly seven hours because of rain, losing 3-6 6-2 7-5.
The second-round match began just after noon and ended near 7pm and was also moved to an indoor court. There were 13 service breaks before the match finally tipped in favour of Zhu.
A seven-time grand slam singles champion, Williams won her first tour match in nearly two years when she beat Katie Volynets on Monday in the first round. She only played four matches in 2022 (losing all four) and will now head to the Australian Open after being granted a wildcard.
"It was not great," Williams said. "Definitely tough. I've played a lot of matches in my life and I've played through some intense delays but it was definitely like two separate matches."
Top-seeded American Coco Gauff will face Zhu in the quarter-finals after beating 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-4. World No.7 Gauff also had to play indoors and beat Kenin in just under 90 minutes, levelling their head-to-head record after Kenin beat Gauff en route to the Australian Open title three years ago.
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