Three big reasons why Emma Raducanu crashed out of Wimbledon

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu is out of Wimbledon
Emma Raducanu is out of Wimbledon

Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon dream is over for another year after a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 defeat against inspired New Zealander Lulu Sun.

The impressive qualifier held her nerve to end Britain’s hopes of a first singles winner in the women’s tournament at Wimbledon since Virginia Wade in 1977.

Raducanu missed a glorious chance to move into the quarter-finals at Wimbledon for the first time in her career after a nervous and flat performance that gave Sun a chance to capitalise on her doubts.

Here are three big reasons why Raducanu missed a glorious chance to appear in the last eight of a Grand Slam since her iconic run to the 2021 US Open title:

AGGRESSION ABSENT

Raducanu’s most impressive shot in her opening three rounds at Wimbledon this year has been her return of serve, especially on her opponent’s second serves.

That shot was too much for No 9 seed Maria Sakkari to deal with in the third round, but Raducanu lacked that intent against Sun.

Against Sun, she was far too cautious when presented with chances to attack the serve and didn’t go after her shots with enough intent.

That meant she was hoping for Sun to miss and giving her too many chances to get on the front foot and take the match away from Raducanu.

When the Brit attacked the ball and moved Sun around the court, it was evident that she had the firepower to take the game away from her opponent, but she didn’t have the self-belief to do that consistently.

SERVING WOES

Every service game was an ordeal for Raducanu.

Even though she made just 68 per-cent of her first serves and when she did land the shot, it didn’t have enough power to accuracy to trouble Sun.

The positioning of Raducanu’s first serve was outstanding in the win against Sakkari, but too many of her serves were in her opponent’s hitting zone in this match and it meant she was always fighting to hold on in each game.

Raducanu won just 54 per-cent of her first serve points and that is not enough to win a fourth-round match at a Grand Slam.

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PRESSURE POINT

Raducanu was the firm favourite in this match and that reality was too much for her to handle.

The joy and freedom she showed in her last two matches was replaced by a nervous tension that was evident from the first game of this match.

She floated the ball back into court rather than going after it with the aggression we know she has in her locker and that gave Sun all the encouragement she needed to win the match with something to spare.

RADUCANU VERDICT

This was a poor performance from the former US Open champion.

The pressure she was under weighed heavily on her and while she was struggling with her back for periods of this match, the bigger problem in this contest was between her ears.

A place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals was there for the taking, but Raducanu wasn’t capable of reaching out and taking that opportunity and she will reflect that her performance didn’t give her a chance to push for the winning line.

The biggest frustration for Raducanu will be that she didn’t lose this match on her own terms and instead, she allowed Sun to dictate when she should have been in the player bossing the points.

Raducanu has shown how she can beat the top players in the game over the last few weeks and that is by taking the racket out of their hands and playing the game on her own terms.

Against Sun, under the most intense of spotlights, she blinked when opportunity knocked.