By: Gyang Dakwo
Emma Raducanu was “really sad” to see her US Open title defense end at the first hurdle but feels she now has a clean slate to move forward in her career.
It was a far cry from the events of 12 months ago as the 19-year-old produced an error-strewn display on a windy night in New York and fell to a 6-3 6-3 defeat against veteran Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
Raducanu will drop to around 80 in the rankings but, although she would certainly have wanted to go further, there was a certain sense of relief that the moment is over and she can attempt to build more solid foundations for her tennis career.
Raducanu, who did not lose a set in 10 matches last year, said: “Obviously it’s really disappointing, I’m really sad to leave here. It’s probably my favourite tournament.
“But also in a way, I’m happy because it’s a clean slate. I’m going to drop down the rankings. Climb my way back up. The target will be off my back slightly.
“I’ve been doing some really good work in the last six weeks especially. I’m just looking forward to putting more of those weeks together consistently, then we’ll see what happens.
“With perspective, actually as a 19-year-old, I’ve had not a bad year. To be top 100, if you told me that a year ago, I’d take it.”
She will now continue until at least the French Open next year and this was just the sort of occasion she relishes.
Raducanu took confidence last year from a good run of results prior to arriving in New York and had the freedom to swing freely but this season has been difficult, with niggling injuries and wins hard to come by. The assuredness that marked her game 12 months ago just was not there.