France’s Alize Cornet celebrates after ousting defending champion Emma Raducano in the first round of the US Open.
New York (AFP) – Britain’s Emma Raducano, the defending champion, was knocked out of the US Open in the first round on Tuesday, losing in straight sets to France’s Alize Cornet.
Eleventh seed Radocano became the third women’s title holder in history to lose in the first round as Cornet put in a superb performance to secure a deserved 6-3 6-3 victory at Louis Armstrong Court.
The 32-year-old Frenchwoman, ranked 40 in the world, used all her experience to outsmart the 19-year-old Radocano, daringly executing a string of brilliant shots at the decisive moments of victory.
Cornet, who caused a surprise at Wimbledon last month with a back-to-back victory over world number one Iga Swiatek, attributed her recent improvements to maturity.
“I think I just handle my feelings better, that’s it,” Cornet said.
“I think I’m getting older and more mature and now when I have to serve in the match I stay in the match and stay in the present and really think about what I have to do.
“I think my emotional management is a lot better and I’m really happy that shows in my results. That’s fine because I’m 32. Better late than never.”
Raducanu was a fan favorite at Flushing Meadows last year, when she made history by breaking down to claim her first fairy tale Grand Slam tournament.
This win marked the first time ever that a qualifier lifted a Grand Slam title.
– Aim at my back –
But she has since struggled to regain the form that gave her the championship title last year. In the previous three Grand Slams this year, she hasn’t made it past the second round.
Her exit on Tuesday saw her join Angelique Kerber in 2017 and Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005 as the only defender at the US Open to fall in the first round.
“It’s obviously really frustrating, and it’s really sad to leave here,” Radocano said afterwards. “Maybe it’s my favourite.”
Raducano, who will go down the rankings after Tuesday’s loss, said she was hoping to take some time to regroup.
“In a way I’m glad it’s a clean slate,” she said. “I’m going to drop the ratings, and climb my way to the top.”
“The target will be a little off my back. Yes, I have another chance to get back there.”
The finely balanced competition was settled by Cornet’s ability to show greater composure when it mattered when Raducanu froze.
Cornet smashed Radocano to a 4-2 lead in the first set, only for the Briton to come back in the next game with a break that made the score 4-3.
But Radocano squandered a 40-15 lead in her next game before committing a double fault to give Cornet a break that left the Frenchwoman a 5-3 lead and sent her into the set. Duly retained Cornet is working to take advantage of the feature.
Raducano, who has been bothered by finger blisters this season, took medical time between the first and second sets to treat the problem again.It looked like I paid off as I went 3-1 in the second set.
But again she was unable to capitalize on her superiority, and it was Cornet, with one of several superb shots scattered throughout her victory, who crashed.
Cornet stuck to the love 3-3 and then broke Raducano two more times to win the match that establishes the second round match with Czech Republic Katerina Siniakova