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US Open 2022: Defending champion Emma Raducanu loses in first round

There will be a new champion at the US Open this year.

Defending champion Emma Radukanu went down in the first round to Alize Cornet of France 6-3, 6-3.

“I’m sorry guys, I know you really like Emma, ​​she’s a great player and a great person, I’m sorry I beat her tonight,” Cornett told ESPN’s Brad Gilbert on the court. .

“But I’m really happy with my performance, I played a really solid match.”

A year earlier, at the age of 18, Radukanu marched through qualifying to win the championship over Leyla Fernandez without losing a set in 10 matches.

Emma Raducanu

Raducanu, born in Toronto to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, earned $2.5 million for the title. This year she earns $80,000 for losing in the first round.

She was unable to repeat her Grand Slam heroism, losing in the second round after New York at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

Emma Raducanu’s US Open defence ends early with defeat to Alizé Cornet

As the tough, intense first set between Elise Cornet and Emma Raducanu reached its defining moment, with Cornet serving 5-3, the Briton did everything in his power to prevent the inevitable. He stepped inside the baseline, hitting hard and quickly with both wings.

But, like many times on Tuesday night, Cornet simply refused to give up. She absorbed countless blows, running from side to side, and as Radukanu steamed into the net, the Frenchwoman slammed a forehand winner down the line.

A year ago, Radukanu somehow scored the most astonishing runs in tennis history, but 2022 is a constant reminder of the trials and tribulations of the sport. In challenging, windy conditions, Radukanu received his most brutal reality check, as his US Open title defense ended at the first hurdle in a 6-3, 6-3 defeat.

From the moment the draw was announced, it was clear that Radukanu was chosen as one of the toughest opponents. Cornet, the world number 40, is one of the highest-ranked players to miss out on the top 32 seed, she is also enjoying the best Grand Slam year of her career.

After Radukanu took a medical timeout to treat his arm, the second set began with a quick break of serve. Radukanu then stitched together his cleanest stretch of the ball and slid a winning backhand down the line to break for 3-1.

But after Cornett’s level dropped slightly, the 32-year-old’s peak resourcefulness returned. She broke back with a supreme drop shot, and her hand skills and improvisational talent helped her roll five games in a row to cement another famous win.

In no other place in the world, would it have been a terrible loss for Radukanu. Cornet is ranked 34th in WTA races compared to Radukanu’s 61 and has played a central role in many of the biggest Grand Slam moments of the year. He is currently a better tennis player than Radukanu, which was reflected in the result. But none of that makes a first-round defeat in the defense of the US Open title less brutal.

In the summer, as the US Open drew to a close, Radukanu acknowledged the possibility that she could lose the 2,040 points she gained in 2021. Here’s that reality now: She’ll drop to 79th in the best-placed WTA rankings, and will be unseeded and in a qualifying draw. He has to rebuild.

But it was Cornett’s moment. Taking to court on Tuesday night, the 32-year-old broke the women’s record for consecutive Grand Slam appearances with 63 – she hasn’t dropped one since 2007. As she often says, she has aged like wine, and no seed wants to see her stand in her way.

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