Emma Raducanu has openly acknowledged her struggles in her opening-round defeat against Anhelina Kalinina at the Qatar Open in Doha on Monday.
Following a second-round loss to Ons Jabeur in Abu Dhabi, the 2021 US Open champion faced a challenging match against Kalinina, particularly in the first set, where she was bagelled in just 17 minutes.
Kalinina dominated, dropping a mere 12 points in the opening seven games before Raducanu managed to get on the scoreboard. While Raducanu displayed stronger resistance in the subsequent games, including a break to level the score at 1-1, she faced difficulties and was broken once more.
Despite saving numerous break points and fighting off two match points, she couldn’t capitalize on a set point and ultimately lost in a tiebreak, with Kalinina securing victory after an hour and 39 minutes of play.
Reflecting on her performance, Raducanu admitted to struggling with various aspects of her game, including serve, return, forehand, and backhand. She confessed that she never felt fully engaged and attributed part of her challenge to playing her first daytime match in about a year.
Additionally, she highlighted the difficulties posed by the outdoor conditions, such as lighting, shadows, and visibility, suggesting the need for more practice in such settings. This loss marks Raducanu’s first first-round exit since her return from injury, bringing her 2024 win-loss record to 2-3 in her fourth tournament back on the tour.