Emma Raducanu accused of 'classless' act amid crazy night of drama at Australian Open

Elena Rybakina crashed out after the longest tiebreak in grand slam history, before Daniil Medvedev prevailed at 3.30am.

Emma Raducanu, pictured here appearing to hit the ball at her opponent intentionally.
Emma Raducanu appeared to hit the ball at her opponent intentionally. Image: Channel 9/Getty

It was a night of absolute drama at the Australian Open on Thursday, with Emma Raducanu and Elena Rybakina crashing out, and Daniil Medvedev playing until 3.30am before finally prevailing. Raducanu battled a stomach bug and was throwing up on court as she suffered a 4-6 6-4 4-6 loss to Wang Yafan in the second round.

And while the 21-year-old won plenty of admirers for her courage and grit to persevere, her actions during and after the final point of the match drew some criticism. Wang was serving at 5-4, 40-15 when she was brought to the net by a Raducanu drop shot.

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She was forced to play a desperate lunging shot to keep the rally alive, and was left in a precarious position at the net as Raducanu came barrelling in. Rather than try and hit around or over Wang, Raducanu opted to smash the ball straight at her opponent at the net - a common tactic when faced with such a situation.

But Raducanu's decision backfired and she fired the ball straight into the net. The tactic of hitting the ball at an opponent is debatable, but it is generally seen as fair game.

Emma Raducanu.
Emma Raducanu didn't appear to say anything to Wang Yafan after their match at the Australian Open. Image: Channel 9

But Raducanu's actions after the incident didn't sit well with fans. The 2021 US Open champion didn't apologise to Wang and didn't even appear to congratulate her or saying anything at all as they shook hands.

Some defended Raducanu's actions due to her ill health, which may have explained why she wasn't in much of a mood to talk after the final point. “All of a sudden just felt so sick, just really like weak and nauseous,” she said after the match. “Throughout the third set, I think everyone could see it was a bit of a battle. I’ll get over it. It just sucks with the timing.”

Emma Raducanu, pictured here during her loss at the Australian Open.
Emma Raducanu appeared to be throwing up on court during her loss at the Australian Open. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Elena Rybakina dumped out after insane 22-20 tiebreaker

Raducanu's loss came as a pre-cursor to some extraordinary scenes at Melbourne Park on Thursday night. The runner-up at the Australian Open last year, Rybakina was dumped out by Anna Blinkova after the longest tiebreak in grand slam history.

Rybakina saved a staggering nine match points before Blinkova prevailed 6-4 4-6 7-6 (22-20) - with the super tiebreaker lasting over half an hour. Blinkova, who saved six match points of her own, said: "I will remember this match for the rest of my life. It took me courage. It took me some certain calmness to stay in the present moment and to play point by point no matter what happens.”

Rybakina said: “I’m really proud that I could fight till the end. I mean, you can't always play perfect. And of course I could have lost it even earlier.”

Daniil Medvedev and Elena Rybakina, pictured here at the Australian Open.
Daniil Medvedev fought back from two sets down after Elena Rybakina was dumped out of the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Daniil Medvedev erases two-set deficit in 3.45am victory

The crazy match meant Medvedev didn't get on court until after 11pm, and was pushed to five enthralling sets by Emil Ruusuvuori. By the time the Russian had prevailed 3-6 6-7 (1) 6-4 7-6 (1) 6-0 it was 3.30am, and Medvedev said he wouldn't get to bed until about 6.30.

"If I don't do the physio, I think I don't go out and play in two days," he said in his on-court interview. "If I do the physio, I will see how much I sleep. Maybe if I can sleep from 6 to 12, then some easy practice tomorrow. But, look it can tough, it's not easy - but I want to try to win and I will give my everything, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't work."

The Russian had a funny message for those still in attendance in the crowd. "Honestly guys... I would not be here," he said. "Thanks for staying. If I was a tennis fan, at one o'clock, I'd say, 'okay let's go and catch the end of the match on TV'. So thanks guys - you're strong."

with AAP

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