Emma Raducanu considering huge schedule change after big defeat in Qatar

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu takes a break
Emma Raducanu of Britain in action

Emma Raducanu made some telling comments after she lost 6-0 7-6(8) against world No 30 Anhelina Kalinina at the Qatar Open.

The 2021 US Open champion was handed a first set bagel by her in-form opponent as Raducanu struggled to cope with the power of her opponent’s ground shots.

Her forehand was also misfiring in a horrible first set for the Brit, but she deserves credit for fighting back in the second set as she forced a set point in the tie-break after saving match points when Kalinina served for the match at 6-5.

Raducanu failed to go after the point when she had her chances to go into a third set and Kalinina quickly set up another match point that was taken by the Ukrainian.

While she showed flashes of her best tennis in a highly competitive second set, Raducanu was clearly disappointed as she spoke to Sky Sports moments after her match.

“I felt like I never really got into it. I think it’s a combination of things.

“It’s like my first day match I think I’ve played in a year, so that’s different.

“Honestly, I think I need to practice training outside a bit more because it’s very different and also the light, conditions, shadows – it’s really hard to kind of see the ball, I found towards the end.

“When the tennis isn’t there, you have to at least try to fight and I think I did that in the second set.”

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She continued: “I think I was struggling with everything today – forehand, backhand. It was one of those days.

“I think it was hard because she had a really good backhand. Even if you went line, you had to make sure it was a really good shot because otherwise, she’d take you off cross-court.

“I just struggled with the timing of the ball to be honest. I think it’s going to come with more time practising as well as matches.”

World No 262 Raducanu recieved a wildcard into the tournament in Doha and there was an expectation that she would play in another high-profile event in Dubai, where big ranking points may be avaialble in a WTA 1000 event.

Yet it seems the 21-year-old is not relishing the prospect of back-to-back tournaments as she looks to build up her workload as she makes a return to the WTA Tour after spending most of last year on the sidelines with serious injuries.

“I think that I need to kind of schedule my tournaments a bit better as well as just trying to get some more matches under my belt,” she added.

“I think that I’m just going to go home and practice and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Raducanu was speaking soon after her defeat and her deflation after the loss may have contributed to her comments that she is keen to return home before playing another tournament.

It remains to be seen whether she has a change of heart and looks to gain a wildcard in the Dubai event, but it is clear that patience is needed both for Raducanu and her fans after this latest defeat.