Emma Raducanu exits Madrid Open after three-set defeat to Anhelina Kalinina
Physical frailties again surfaced in Emma Raducanu’s story as she missed a fine opportunity to move into the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open – the biggest tournament in Europe outside the grand slams.
Raducanu complained of a stiff back during a three-set loss to the powerful Ukrainian player Anhelina Kalinina. She took a medical time-out after being dominated by Kalinina in the opening set, and managed to turn the match around. But then, as the players moved into the home straight, her lack of endurance told.
It was a feisty match that featured plenty of twists and turns, as well as a heated exchange between Kalinina and chair umpire Miriam Bley when the world No37 wanted to take a bathroom break at the end of the second set.
Kalinina might have felt that, after having to deal with an interruption to her own rhythm earlier in the match, it was her turn to return the favour. And the pendulum duly swing again, with Kalinina rediscovering her former poise and timing as she swept to a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory in 2hr 18min.
When Raducanu was asked about Kalinina two days previously, it was clear she had no idea who she was about to go up against. This was understandable, for the only people who really appreciate the weight and bite of Kalinina’s groundstrokes are those who have already faced her. Players like the former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, who had suffered a 6-3, 6-0 tonking in the previous round.
Kalinina is 25 years old, a former journeywoman from the lower levels of the game who began her transformation with a run of 14 straight wins on the clay a year ago. She loves this surface, having been brought up on it, whereas Raducanu is still coming to terms with its niceties.
On this showing, though, Kalinina could potentially inflict serious damage at the French Open, where she has a strong chance of going in as a seed after coming through qualifying there last season.
Few players have experienced such a sharp transformation in their fortunes – although Raducanu is one of them. Had these two faced off at the same stage of 2021, Kalinina would have been ranked in the 160s, while Raducanu was still coming up against bit-part players in British Tour events, and did not even have a point to her name.
With the roof of the Caja Magica closed because of thunderstorms, conditions felt noticeably slower than they had during Raducanu’s previous two wins (over the Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova and Kalinina’s countrywoman Marta Kostyuk). Time and again, she would hit what promised to be a clean winner, only for Kalinina to somehow conjure the ball back into play – or even match it with a decisive strike of her own.
Watching on from the courtside boxes was Louis Cayer, the Lawn Tennis Association doubles coach who is acting as Raducanu’s “technical consultant”. It is a strange quirk of their arrangement that, even though Cayer has said he will help her at the slams this year, he has still promised to prioritise his doubles players: world No1 Joe Salisbury and the fast-rising Liverpudlian Neal Skupski.
Last night, Cayer might have noted that his new client doesn’t always remember the first rule of clay-court tennis: you have to shape the ball with plenty of top-spin. In the first set, Raducanu was far too flat in her groundstrokes, while Kalinina’s ball-strike was decisive in every way: powerful, heavy and accurate. When the ball came off her racket, it made a deep and resonant sound, like John Bonham banging his bass drum.
From the medical time-out onwards, Raducanu lifted her level. She fought tigerishly and came up with some stunning winners, but in the bread-and-butter crosscourt rallies she was more likely to be pushed back than her older and stronger opponent.
The third set was by far the most riveting part of the match. Although Kalinina had dropped her level in the second, she was now back on song. And the song she played was a kind of tennis heavy metal. Even her outfit, which started out as a baggy grey T-shirt and equally loose-fitting shorts, looked like something a roadie might wear.
At least there was no suggestion of Raducanu choking this time. Admittedly, she is now zero for five this season when she loses the first set – which says something about the reserves of stamina she still needs to develop. But this wasn’t like the end of her hard-court season, which found her failing to serve out victories in three successive tournaments.
This time, Raducanu trailed 3-1 in the decider – as well as 15-40 on serve in the fifth game – and managed to level at 4-4. But then Kalinina pushed on again, and she simply didn’t have the puff to keep up.
Still, this wasn’t a bad week for Raducanu overall. Two solid wins have carried her into the top 50 of the WTA Race – a rankings chart based on performances in 2022 alone. If she wasn’t already the US Open champion, British tennis would be exultant.
Credit to Kalinina
Kalinina knocks out her third consecutive major champion to make her first WTA 1000 quarterfinal.
She's now claimed wins over Sloane Stephens, Garbiñe Muguruza and Raducanu.
The winning moment for Kalinina
The wins keep coming 🙌
🇺🇦 Anhelina Kalinina is into her 𝙁𝙄𝙍𝙎𝙏 WTA 1000 quarterfinal! Knocking out another Major champion in Raducanu.#MMOPEN pic.twitter.com/nyNNr0wwJl
— wta (@WTA) May 3, 2022
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2, 4-6 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Raducanu cross court forehand winner to open the game, 0-15. Raducanu forehand long, 15-15.
Wild Raducanu forehand return, 30-15. Great hustle by Raducanu to reach Kalinina drop shot and lift a backhand slice into the corner. Raducanu break point as Kalinina nets a forehand.
Raducanu forehand return wide, deuce. Raducanu backhand long, match point Kalinina.
Kalinina backhand down the line goes long, deuce. Raducanu's defensive backhand is long, second match point.
GAME SET MATCH KALININA. Kalinina hits a drop shot which Raducanu reaches. The Ukrainian hits a backhand pass but Raducanu's backhand volley flies well long.
Raducanu* 2-6, 6-2, 4-5 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Positive energy from Raducanu as she draws the error by Kalinina, 30-0. Raducanu goes for a big second serve but misses, 30-30. Massive point coming up.
Raducanu backhand long, break point Kalinina. Big wide serve by Raducanu and Kalinina nets the return.
Raducanu backhand volley long and it is a second break point for Kalinina. Incredible defence by Raducanu to stay in the point but Kalinina flicks a sensational angled backhand for a winner. Kalinina will serve for the match next.
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2, 4-4 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Nervy forehand drive volley long by Kalinina, 0-15. Kalinina forehand into the tramlines, 15-30.
Raducanu gets a shot ball but doesn't execute it well enough, striking the forehand long, 30-30.
Defensive slice by Raducanu drops just long, 40-30. But she remains in the game when Kalinina puts a backhand long. The Ukrainian is very nervy at the moment.
Disappointment for Raducanu as she nets a forehand return. She should have made that. Could be a turning point.
And Kalinina holds with a backhand winner.
Raducanu* 2-6, 6-2, 4-3 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Kalinina backhand long, 30-15. The Ukrainian puts a backhand into the tramlines, 40-15.
And another unforced error by Kalinina allows Raducanu to hold and move within two games of the quarters.
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2, 3-3 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Back to back big first serves by Kalinina followed by forehand winners, 30-0. Great defence by Raducanu with the forehand slice and then whips a backhand winner down the line, 30-15.
Shaky backhand slice into the net from Kalinina, 30-40. Break point Raducanu.
And she gets it. Great patience, shot selection and Kalinina makes the error. We are level again.
Raducanu* 2-6, 6-2, 2-3 Kalinina (*denotes server)
A few too many erors from the racket of Raducanu at the moment. Too good from Kalinina as she drags Raducanu wide and drills a backhand up the line, 15-30.
Defensive forehand by Raducanu goes long and she reaches for her back again, two break points.
Raducanu saves the first with a big first serve. And then the second when Kalinina nets a backhand. Great recovery.
Well done Raducanu. A bit of cat and mouse tennis and she flicks a backhand up the line for a winner. She enjoyed that point.
All out aggression by Raducanu and a forehand down the line winner to finish. Class.
Raducanu digs out a huge hold when Kalinina puts a wild forehand long.
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2, 1-3 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Kalinina nets a forehand on the opening point of the game, 0-15. And she moves serenely to 40-15 with a drive forehand winner.
And she holds with a forehand winner. Big challenge for Raducanu now.
Raducanu* 2-6, 6-2, 1-2 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Wild forehand by Raducanu, 0-30. Kalinina backhand winner, 0-40. Three break points.
Raducanu saves the first when Kalinina puts a forehand long. But Kalinina breaks again to take control of the set with a fierce cross court forehand winner.
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2, 1-1 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Another slice of luck for Raducanu as the ball clips the net cord and drops on Kalinina's side for the second time tonight.
Excellent wide serve by Kalinina, 30-15. Raducanu backhand into the net, 40-15. The British No 1 stays in the game after back to back errors from Kalinina, deuce.
Kalinina catches the line with a forehand winner, big time hitting. And she comes through a tricky game with a valuable hold.
Third set: Raducanu* 2-6, 6-2, 1-0 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Long delay as both players leave the court. Raducanu goes for a comfort break, Kalinina changes her outfit.
Lovely backhand dropshot to start the set by Raducanu. She moves to 40-0 after back to back errors from Kalinina.
And she holds when Kalinina drills a forehand return well long.
Going into a third in Madrid!
Raducanu 2-6, 6-2 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
More errors from the racket of Kalinina gives Raducanu an opening. Kalinina challenges a call and gets it wrong handing Raducanu a set point.
Raducanu goes on the attack and Kalinina puts a backhand long. Game on in Madrid as we enter a third set.
Raducanu* 2-6, 5-2 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Excellent wide serve and drive forehand put away by Raducanu, 15-15. Dominant rally by Kalinina and she crashes a forehand winner into the corner, 15-30.
Raducanu ace down the T, 30-30. Big point coming up.
Relentless from Raducanu, massive ball striking, really physical point. She rifles a forehand down the line, gets a short ball and hits a nice drop shot.
Fist pump from Raducanu as Kalinina nets a forehand return.
Raducanu 2-6, 4-2 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Bit of fortune for Raducanu as her forehand clips the net tape and drops on Kalinina's side of the court.
Kalinina then puts a backhand wide, 0-30. She's getting increasingly frustrated as the match swings in Raducanu's favour.
In fairness, Kalinina gets to 30-30 with two aggressive points then shows a touch of class with a backhand drop shot.
And Kalinina holds with a huge backhand down the line winner.
Raducanu* 2-6, 4-1 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Definite drop in level by Kalinina and Raducanu takes full advantage to consolidate the break with a hold to love.
She competing very well now.
Raducanu 2-6, 3-1 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Stunning Raducanu forehand off a Kalinina second serve, 15-30. Deep loopy return by Raducanu and Kalinina shanks a forehand out, two break points.
Kalinina backhand up the middle is long, Raducanu breaks again.
Raducanu* 2-6, 2-1 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Forehand winner by Kalinina to open the game but she then nets a backhand return.
Raducanu tries with a high percentage backhand up the line but nets, 30-30. Big point coming up.
Excellent wide first serve and Kalinina nets the return. Kalinina takes the game to deuce when she pushes Raducanu wide with a forehand and flicks a backhand into the open court for a winner.
Kalinina breaks a string but still manages to hit a deft backhand drop shot winner, break point.
Big hitting rally and Raducanu blinks first when she nets a forehand.
Raducanu 2-6, 2-0 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Wild forehand down the line by Kalinina, 0-15. Kalinina double fault, 0-30. She responds with overhead smash winner.
So much better from Raducanu. She wrong foots Kalinina with a forehand and draws the error, two break points.
Kalinina forehand long and Raducanu breaks. That delay has seen a change in momentum here.
Second Set: Raducanu* 2-6, 1-0 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Ideal start for Raducanu as she hits back-to-back forehand winners. She gets to 40-15 when Kalinina puts a backhand return long.
Raducanu holds when Kalinina puts a backhand long.
Medical timeout for Raducanu
A bit of a delay as Raducanu leaves the court for treatment. Seems to be a back issue.
Raducanu 2-6 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Ridiculous cross court backhand on the stretch from Kalinina to bring up three set points.
Raducanu saves the first and then the second with a deep forehand. But Kalinina does get the job done with a forehand that cleans the line.
Uphill task for Raducanu now.
Raducanu* 2-5 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Back to back winner by Kalinina to give herself a 0-30 advantage. Raducanu pulls a point back when Kalinina puts a forehand long.
Raducanu tries a drive volley but Kalinina reads it and puts a backhand into the open court, two break points.
Raducanu saves the first when Kalinina puts a forehand return long. And the second when Kalinina puts another return long.
A third break point for Kalinina but she misses with a cross court forehand. Another gruelling rally brings up a fourth break point.
Kalinina lobs Raducanu, the young Briton runs back and tries a lob of her own but Kalinina puts away an easy overhead winner.
Raducanu 2-4 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Sensational forehand on the run by Raducanu draws the error from Kalinina, 15-15.
Both women going toe-to-toe and Kalinina puts a forehand long. Big point coming up.
Big serve down the T followed by a forehand winner, 40-30. And she wins another game when Raducanu nets a forehand. Raducanu appears to be touching her back often, something to keep an eye on perhaps.
Raducanu* 2-3 Kalinina (*denotes server)
Ideal service game for Raducanu as she holds to love for the first time in the match. She'll be hoping to get more errors from Kalinina's racket in the business end of the set.
Raducanu 1-3 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Blistering cross court backhand winner by Kalinina. That's going to be a huge problem for Raducanu tonight.
Kalinina moves to 40-0 with a forehand winner and seals another game with an ace.
Raducanu* 1-2 Kalinina (*denotes server)
The depth and weight of shot from Kalinina is causing a lot of problems from Raducanu. But she responds with a lovely backhand drop shot, 30-15.
Kalinina return into the net, 40-15. Lovely finish to the game for Raducanu as she puts a backhand pass down the line.
Raducanu 0-2 Kalinina* (*denotes server)
Kalinina is striking the ball very big at the moment and she rifles another forehand winner down the line, 15-15.
Raducanu tries to attack Kalinina's second serve but misjudges it, 40-15. Chance for Raducanu to stay in the game after drawing Kalinina to the net but she flicks a backhand wide.
First set: Emma Raducanu* 0-1 Anhelina Kalinina (*denotes server)
Raducanu misses with a forehand on the opening shot. She responds with a really aggressive rally but Kalinina shows good hustle and Raducanu nets with a backhand, 0-30.
Huge Kalinina backhand winner down the line, three break points.
And Kalinina gets the early breakthrough when Raducanu's forehand goes long.
Here we go...
... the warm up are done. Lets play some ball!
The players are on court
Raducanu and Kalinina walk onto court for their match. Kalinina wins the toss and opts to receive.
The roof is closed due to rain in Madrid tonight.
Who is Anhelina Kalinina?
Kalinina, 25, is ranked 36th in the world. She broke into the top 50 in January.
Her best result at a grand slam is the second round at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.
Raducanu start time
After Novak Djokovic easily dispatched Gael Monfils on Manolo Santana Stadium court, we can expect Raducanu and Kalinina on court shortly after 7pm.
Good evening and welcome
Hello and welcome to coverage of Emma Raducanu's third round match at the Madrid Open this evening.
On Sunday, Raducanu produced arguably her best performance since winning the US Open last September when he eased past Marta Kostyuk.
It was just the fourth time Raducanu had managed back-to-back victories at an event following her New York triumph and she now faces Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina, who dispatched Garbine Muguruza.
After impressing in Stuttgart last week before losing to world number one Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals, the 19-year-old has built on that in the Spanish capital.
She won 11 of the last 12 games to see off Tereza Martincova in the opening round after a poor start and then raced to a 6-2, 6-1 success against fellow teenager Kostyuk.
Speaking on court, Raducanu said: "I'm definitely very happy with my performance today. Marta is a great opponent, we played several times in the juniors and then once last year.
"I knew it was always going to be a really tough battle so I went out there trying to be really aggressive and it definitely paid off.
"It was a really fun match to play. One of those where you feel like you're playing really well so it's always nice when that happens. It doesn't always but you definitely got to ride it when it does."
The win over Kostyuk provided a little bit of revenge for Raducanu, who lost convincingly the last time they met in Romania last October.
She said: "It's my first clay-court season and I'm really enjoying it. Madrid is such a cool city and it's got such a great vibe about it, so I definitely want to try and stay here for as long as possible."
The winner of this match will play either Jil Teichman or Elena Rybakina in the quarter-finals.