Raducanu beaten by Gauff in entertaining encounter

    Emma Raducanu became the final British player to fall in the women’s singles
    Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 16-29 January
    Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website & app

    British number one Emma Raducanu is out of the Australian Open after losing in straight sets to Coco Gauff in a gripping second-round match.

    Raducanu, ranked 77th in the world, acquitted herself very well against the American seventh seed but a lack of matches told in a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) defeat.

    The 20-year-old had battled an ankle injury before the Melbourne major.

    Defeat means Raducanu has not reached the third round of a Grand Slam since her stunning 2021 US Open win.

    Teenager Gauff, who famously reached the Wimbledon last 16 as a 15-year-old in 2019, is among the favourites to win the title at Melbourne Park.

    “I told myself to hang in there, Emma played really good tennis towards the end of the match,” said 18-year-old Gauff.

    “It was a good quality match for the most part. This was a long anticipated match-up so I’m glad it was a good match for the crowd.”

    Aiming for her first Grand Slam triumph, Gauff will face Chinese 29th seed Qinwen Zheng or fellow American Bernarda Pera in the third round on Friday.

    Raducanu’s exit means there is no British interest left in the women’s singles, while Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray and Dan Evans are still to play their second-round matches in the men’s draw.

    Norrie, seeded 11th, is scheduled to play in Wednesday’s final match on Kia Arena, but it remains to be seen if he will get chance to take to the court against French world number 65 Constant Lestienne.

    A backlog of matches still to be played remains after long rain delays in Melbourne meant play on the outside courts did not start until 5pm local time (06:00 GMT).

    Raducanu can take pride and positivity from performance

    Raducanu conceded it has been a “great achievement” even getting on to court at Melbourne Park this week following the ankle injury she sustained in Auckland 13 days ago.

    Rolling the left ankle meant she had to retire from the match against Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, leaving Raducanu in tears when she left the court.

    Before her opening match against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, she said she “fully trusted” the ankle but her movement was always going to be tested more against Gauff.

    The issue did not appear to be factor as Raducanu went toe-to-toe with the French Open finalist in a match packed with intense baseline rallies.

    Raducanu grew in confidence as the match went on, playing on the front foot and pinning Gauff back with her aggressive and accurate groundstrokes.

    However, her lack of court time also told with some loose shots letting Gauff off the hook at pivotal moments, including when had the Briton had two set points at 5-4 in the second.

    While any defeat hurts, Raducanu will undoubtedly look back on this performance with plenty of pride and positivity for the future.

    Emma Raducanu and Coco Gauff embrace after their Australian Open match
    Raducanu and Gauff, who have become friends on tour, shared a warm embrace after an entertaining match

    More to follow.

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