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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

ASB Classic: Emma Raducanu retires in tears with ankle injury 11 days before Australian Open

Raducanu has been plagued by injuries since winning the 2021 US Open title

Emma Raducanu retired from her second-round ASB Classic match in tears after injuring her ankle just 11 days before the start of the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old Briton won the opening set 6-0 against Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, but lost the second 7-5.

She received medical attention before the start of the third set but signalled her withdrawal two points into her opening service game.

The match was played on an indoor court because of persistent rain in Auckland.

Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, had an injury-blighted 2022 season, retiring from five matches, but said she was injury-free and feeling “good” following an exhibition match in December.

She began 2023 with victory over teenager Linda Fruhvirtova in her opening match in New Zealand in preparation for the season’s first major tournament in Melbourne.

Elsewhere, Coco Gauff beat fellow American and winner of the 2020 Australian Open Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals in Auckland.

The 18-year-old number one seed will next play China’s Zhu Lin, who defeated seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus Williams 3-6 6-2 7-5 in a rain-interrupted match that had to be moved on to an indoor court.

Zhu won the final four games of the match as she came from 5-3 down in the deciding set. Williams served for the match at 5-4 but the Chinese world number 84 broke and saved four break points as she held serve to move 6-5 ahead before again breaking serve.

“Outside it was really tough, it was rainy, windy. It was tennis, but it was more about surviving instead of playing great,” said Williams, who has been given a wildcard entry to the Australian Open.

“Indoors it was completely different but I got to hit a lot of balls, so that’s important.”

At the Adelaide International, the Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova, 18, set up a quarter-final with Belarus’ two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, 33. Noskova beat the United States’ Claire Liu 6-2 6-2, while Azarenka overcame China’s Zheng Qinwen 6-2 7-5.

Tunisia’s world number two Ons Jabeur also reached the last eight with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, while 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko was beaten 6-3 6-0 by Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

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