Emma Raducanu’s difficult debut year on the WTA Tour suffered a fresh setback after she was beaten by world number 213 Anna-Lena Friedsam at the Slovenia Open on Thursday.
The British No 1 arrived in the small town of Portoroz hoping to build confidence and belief following her early exit at the US Open this month.
But after coming through her first round match seemingly unscathed, Raducanu was hit by more injury woe in the defeat to Friedsam. After failing to hold serve to take the opening set at 5-4, Raducanu began to struggle with her movement and at one point bent over and held her leg in clear discomfort.
Friedsam would go on to take the first set 7-5 and during the changeover, Raducanu took a medical time out and received treatment from the tournament physio, who applied heavy strapping to her left thigh.
The break in play worked wonders for Raducanu, who swiftly won the second set 6-0 to force a deciding set as her opponent’s game bizarrely fell apart.
However, Friedsam recovered her composure and in the eighth game of the final set, she broke Raducanu’s serve for the fifth time in the match and held her own to love to seal a 7-5, 0-6, 6-3 victory.
“I played great tennis. I had to be focused on every point because like in the second set she felt more free… …and I pulled off a bit,” said Friedsam.
“It’s one of my biggest victories but I’m happy that I find my level now again after some difficult years and I hope that I will continue like that and improve. But right now I’m just happy about [winning].”
Reaching her first quarterfinal of the season ?
— wta (@WTA) September 15, 2022
Raducanu is on the entry list to play at the Korea Open in Seoul next week but it remains to be seen whether she is fit enough. Having plummetted to 83 in the world, Raducanu has moved up to 75 in the rankings but faces an uphill battle to move back into the top 50 by the end of the year.