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Emma Raducanu has drawn criticism from tennis fans after a controversial medical timeout late in her second-round loss at the Linz Open on Tuesday.
The US Open champion was knocked out of the WTA event in stunning scenes, losing 1-6, 7-6 (7-0), 5-7 to World No.106 Wang Xinyu.
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The 18-year-old top seed, who has since announced Torben Beltz as her new coach, stunned the tennis world in September when she became the first qualifier ever to win a major.
But in her third tournament since the Flushing Meadows success, the British teenager struggled from the start against the 20-year-old Chinese qualifier who galloped through the first set as Raducanu battled with her serve.
The Briton was far from her most fluent in the second set but made short work of Wang in the tiebreaker, winning it 7-0.
But Wang stayed with Raducanu in the decider, breaking to go 5-4 up and serving for the match.
After two further breaks, Wang again served for the match, this time closing it out after two hours and 36 minutes on court.
Raducanu was visibly struggling with injury late in the match and took a controversial medical timeout before Wang served at 5-4.
Fans took to social media to condemn the move, with some of the belief that Raducanu was simply trying to break Wang's momentum.
However others defended the 18-year-old and argued she was clearly injured.
Great win. WTA needs mandatory 2 game penaly for injury timeouts. Emma taking timeout when down 4-5 in the third is ridiculous.
— TennisHandicapper (@TennisHandicap1) November 9, 2021
It's hard to rally behind someone who uses MTO as a strategy when losing. She did the same thing at US Open to break Fernandez momentum. It's a loser tactic and shouldn't be allowed. No respect for that at all
— Miche🏳️🌈 (@Michwatso) November 9, 2021
She did this against Fernández in the US open final also.
I don't know why they allow it..yes she might be injured but she's hurting the momentum of the opponent which isn't fair. It's like hurting the opponent also.
— Rishi P (@rishman9) November 9, 2021
You could argue it was disrespectful for Raducanu to take a medical timeout just as Xinyu was serving for the match - What would be the British reaction if shoe was on the other foot 🤔 #WTALinz https://t.co/w5BbFY54bS
— Aaron (@Kernoghan7) November 9, 2021
There should be atleast two points penalty for for taking a medical timeout before your opponent serves, raducanu was petty for that attempt to disrupt the game with injury claim
— wolf🧘🏽♂️ (@wolfsberg_r) November 9, 2021
I was watching and Raducanu was obviously injured in the two games before the timeout. It wasn't gamesmanship.
— Rogers Cadenhead (@rcade) November 9, 2021
And by the way the medical timeout during the US Open was called by the chair umpire and not Raducanu. The rules say that if you are bleeding you have to get medical treatment
— Gunner1896 (@Gunner1896) November 9, 2021
Slightly disappointing that Raducanu calls a medical timeout just as Wang is serving for the match, but I’m not saying she’s making it up@WTALinz
— David Smith (@smifffyd) November 9, 2021
— Bala Ganesh (@balaganesh1986) November 9, 2021
Medical timeouts have been the source of great frustration for tennis fans for years, with gamesmanship coming into play in a number of massive moments.
Raducanu also took a medical timeout that broke Leylah Fernandez's momentum late in the US Open final, however on that occasion she was bleeding from her knee and needed treatment.
Emma Raducanu appoints new coach
It marked another bad day of the office for Raducanu, who had been without a coach since parting company with Andrew Richardson shortly after her triumph in New York.
But the 18-year-old hopes the experience of Beltz can help her build on her breakout season.
“It’s obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach," she said after her loss to Wang.
“I’m definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year. I’m feeling excited about all the work that is to come.
“I think he brings a lot of experience. Obviously he’s worked with Kerber, who’s such a great player and has done extremely well, won three slams.
"I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me.
“He can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about, and also he’s a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team so I think that’s also important when you’re travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour.”
Beltz, 44, previously coached former World No.1 Angelique Kerber and also worked with Croatia's Donna Vekic.
Meanwhile, second seed Simona Halep, who missed this year's French Open and Wimbledon due to a left calf tear, eased into the last eight with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Wang now faces American eighth seed Alison Riske in the quarter-finals after her 6-4, 6-4 win over Alize Cornet.
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