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Emma Raducanu suffers heavy defeat in Syndey to hamper Australian Open preparations

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emma raducanu vs elena rybakina live score australian open sydney - AFP

emma raducanu vs elena rybakina live score australian open sydney – AFP

Emma Raducanu crashed to a heavy defeat at the Sydney International in her first match since recovering from coronavirus.

The 19-year-old fell 6-0 6-1 to Kazakhstan’s world number 13 Elena Rybakina in a disappointing display ahead of her Australian Open debut.

Raducanu was overpowered by her opponent, who continued the strong form that saw her reach the final of the Adelaide International last week.

More to follow…

10:42 AM

Raducanu 0-6, 1-6 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Three match points quickly come for Rybakina. Raducanu saves the first when Rybakina nets a forehand.

And the second as she gets Rybakina on the back foot and hits a drive backhand winner.

GAME>SET>MATCH RYBAKINA. Job done by Rybakina as she finishes with an overhead winner.

10:38 AM

Raducanu* 0-6, 1-5 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Rybakina destroys another second serve by Raducanu and finishes with a forehand winner, 30-15. Raducanu then nets a forehand, 30-30.

A slower first serve by Raducanu is punished with a huge forehand from Rybakina. Break point.

Rybakina just misses with a forehand. Second break opportunity coming as Raducanu put a forehand wide.

Relief for Raducanu as Rybakina puts a forehand long. A fourth break point for Rybakina and she finally takes it with another huge forehand.

10:31 AM

Raducanu 0-6, 1-4 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

The crowd want to see a match and they are definitely on Raducanu’s side. But another Rybakina ace makes it 30-15.

Raducanu return error, 40-15. And Rybakina holds with a forehand pass winner as Raducanu tried to do something different.

10:28 AM

Raducanu* 0-6, 1-3 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Another double fault by Raducanu, her sixth, 15-15. Raducanu forehand winner, 30-15. Massive Rybakina forehand winner, 30-30.

Big smile from Raducanu as she finally gets on the scoreboard when Rybakina misses a backhand down the line.

10:23 AM

Raducanu 0-6, 0-3 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Raducanu hasn’t been able to dominate any rallies today. Rybakina is blasting her way past the British No 1.

Rybakina double fault. But a Rybakina backhand winner seals a ninth game in a row.

Unstoppable tennis at the moment.

10:19 AM

Raducanu* 0-6, 0-2 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Three more break points for Rybakina after more errors from Raducanu and a huge forehand winner.

Raducanu saves the first. But not the second as she hits a fifth double fault. Eerie silence from the crowd.

10:15 AM

Second Set: Raducanu 0-6, 0-1 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Rybakina starts the set with back-to-back forehand winners. And a third winner. Unplayable tennis at the moment.

And she holds as she crushes another forehand down the line.

10:12 AM

Raducanu* 0-6 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Rybakina punishes a weak second serve by Raducanu, 0-15. Raducanu backhand long, 0-30. Rybakina just misses with a backhand down the line, 15-30.

Rybakina backhand long, 30-30. Raducanu double fault, set point. And Rybakina takes the set as Raducanu puts a backhand into the net.

Rybakina has been awesome. Raducanu needs to start the second set well.

10:07 AM

Raducanu 0-5 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Excellent defense again by Raducanu to steal a point with a forehand winner, 30-15. Rybakina forehand error, 30-30.

Rybakina ace, her second of the match. Good backhand return by Raducanu draws an error from Rybakina.

Third ace for Rybakina. Huge drive forehand by Rybakina to win the game.

10:02 AM

Raducanu* 0-4 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Rybakina is playing so aggressively at the moment and Raducanu needs to weather this early storm.

A wild forehand by Raducanu drifts wide, 15-30. Raducanu backhand into the tramlines. An anxious look by Raducanu to her support box. Two break points.

Raducanu saves the first but not the second as she hits a forehand long. Double break for Rybakina.

09:57 AM

Raducanu 0-3 Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Raducanu goes for a backhand down the line but nets, 30-0. Good defense by Raducanu to hang in the rally and Rybakina misses with a forehand.

Raducanu frames a forehand return but the ball drops in and Rybakina nets a forehand. Rybakina responds with a forehand winner. And she holds when Raducanu nets a forehand.

09:54 AM

Raducanu* 0-2 Rybakina (*denotes server)

Consecutive winners from Raducanu to start the game. Rybakina responds with a forehand winner of her own.

Big first serve with great placement is unreturned by Rybakina. Double fault Raducanu, 40-30.

And another double fault draws gasps from the crowd. Deuce. Longest rally of the match and Raducanu puts a backhand long. Break point. Disappointment for Rybakina as she puts a forehand long.

Raducanu forehand into the net, second break point for Rybakina. Third double fault by Raducanu and the early break goes the way of the world No 13.

09:48 AM

First Set: Emma Raducanu 0-1 Elena Rybakina* (*denotes server)

Big-hitting right off from the off by Rybakina. An ace makes it 40-0. And she holds with a forehand winner.

Impressive!

09:43 AM

Tough test for Raducanu

Rybakina is ranked 13 in the world, has two career titles, $2.8m in prize money and was a finalist in Adelaide last week.

09:40 AM

Here we go!

Warm welcome for Raducanu as she walks onto court with Rybakina.

Rybakina wins the toss and will serve first.

09:28 AM

Hello

And welcome to our live coverage of Emma Raducanu’s first match of 2022, against Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic.

The rising British superstar will be hoping for a good run at the upcoming Australian Open – the first grand slam since her fairytale success in New York in September.

Today’s match is also Raducanu’s first under her new coach Torben Beltz. And, as Molly McElwee explains, the German is anything but an ordinary coach.

Beltz, who has already been praised by Raducanu for his “positive” and “cheerful” energy, has always found ways to keep players in his charge on their toes.

During his long, and hugely successful, tenure with three-time major champion Angelique Kerber, he would make wagers with her over things like how far she would progress in tournaments, with the loser having to do forfeits – including going skydiving.

That fun factor is just one of the qualities to which helped Beltz bag the most coveted and exciting job in tennis. He is said to be a quiet and analytical coach, with a relaxed and positive manner which won Raducanu and her team over.

Raducanu, the world No 19, was scheduled to play at the Melbourne Summer Set last week, but was forced to withdraw from the tournament having just come out of isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

“The timing to compete in the first Melbourne event this week is too soon for me, having just returned from isolation,” Raducanu said.

Ahead of the new season, two legends of tennis forecast a difficult season for Raducanu, as she looks to build on that astonishing victory at September’s US Open.

Offering predictions for 2022, the nine-time Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova suggested that Raducanu’s peers now know how she plays and where to target her, while the 1980s doubles giant Pam Shriver expressed doubt that Raducanu would finish the year in the world’s top 20.

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