Emma Raducanu has been knocked out of Madrid
Raducanu was out-of-sorts and outmuscled in an opening set in Madrid that lasted
just 35 minutes, after which she briefly left the court for a medical timeout having
clutched her back on a couple of occasions.
Amazingly, she seemed rejuvenated and took advantage of an error count creeping
up from her opponent to take the last-16 match to a decider, only for Kalinina to hold
her nerve and prevail 6-2 2-6 6-4.
While Kalinina can look forward to a quarter-final showdown against Switzerland’s Jil
Teichmann, Raducanu, seeded ninth in the Spanish capital, can take some solace for
her dogged determination.
“I would have given myself a 5% chance of winning that match, and for it to almost
happen, I think that was a positive thing,” Raducanu told reporters.
“I was kind of struggling a bit with my back, to be honest. Throughout the week I
have been carrying some niggles, and it’s kind of just taking its toll, all of the
matches at this kind of level.
“I did go into the match with that, and I was really struggling to move out wide.”
An epic spanning two hours and 19 minutes – including a grueling 63-minute final
set – did not seem to be on the cards when a listless Raducanu was broken to love in
her opening service game.
Kalinina, who lost just three games in beating former French Open and Wimbledon
champion Garbine Muguruza earlier this week, simply overpowered Raducanu in a
one-sided first set where the Briton, wearing strapping on her upper left leg, was
troubled by her back.
While the reigning US Open champion had no answers to her rival’s groundstrokes
on both wings, but particularly her impressive backhand, Raducanu was much
improved in the second set following some treatment off the court.
There was little doubting Kalinina’s levels had dropped and Raducanu ruthlessly took
advantage to level proceedings with the momentum seemingly on her side.
Kalinina found her range again but this time Raducanu refused to buckle and they
traded ferocious blows, with the world number 11 battling back from 3-1 to reel off
three games in a row.