Emma Raducanu loses doubles debut match at Citi Open, but happy to fine-tune game ahead of US Open

Shahida Jacobs
Emma Raducanu in action

Emma Raducanu and Clara Tauson lost their women’s doubles opening match at the Citi Open, but the hours spent on court will be of value to both players in the long run.

Playing for the first time since they both made early exits from Wimbledon, Raducanu and Tauson were handed a tough draw as they faced third seeds Lucie Hradecka and Monica Niculescu first up.

And it was the experienced duo who dominated proceedings as they secured a fairly comfortable 6-4, 6-1 victory in one hour and 12 minutes.

The Hradecka-Niculescu combination put the marker down early as they broke twice to race into a 4-0 lead before Raducanu and Tauson claimed one break back to get on the scoreboard.

The teenagers then got a second break in game nine to get back on serving terms, but Hradecka and Niculescu broke again to take the opening set in 40 minutes.

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The Czech-Romanian partnership then got an opening in the fourth game of the second set and they took full advantage before a second break in game six all but sealed the match as they went on to serve it out to love.

Hradecka and Niculescu will face wildcards Sloane Stephens and Makenna Jones in the second round after the American duo beat Sophie Chang and Astra Sharma in three sets.

Monday’s doubles outing, though, will be good practice for both Raducanu and Tauson as it was their first match on the North American hard-court swing.

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Raducanu is seeded second in the women’s singles and she will take on Louisa Chirico in the first round on Tuesday while eighth seed Tauson from Denmark is up against Andrea Petkovic.

For Raducanu it is all about fine-tuning her game ahead of her US Open title defence.

“I think every week leading up to the US Open, it’s great to build from it. I mean, I started training, like, two weeks ago. I think that with every week, you learn a bit more of what works, what doesn’t work,” the British No 1 said.

“Starting here in the Citi Open, you’ll see what happens on the match court, you’ll analyse it, you’ll be like, Hey, this didn’t work, I need to do this better for the next match.

“You use every single week as an opportunity to try to do that. I’m not really thinking too far ahead about the US Open, that I need to win the US Open again. I don’t. I just want to improve.

“I’m focusing on what I’m training on every single day. That’s how the best results happen, when you’re that focused on what you’re doing every single session.”