Emma Raducanu suffers fresh injury scare as she loses against Ons Jabeur
Emma Raducanu turned in another encouraging performance as she lost against Ons Jabeur at the Abu Dhabi Open, but there was a worrying injury scare for the Brit in a high-quality match.
Two-time Wimbledon finalist Jabeur hit a stunning 35 winners in a powerful performance that was too much for Raducanu to handle.
Yet the 21-year-old Brit should be encouraged by her success of staying with Jabeur, who was serving big throughout and hitting some wonderous winners.
Jabeur has struggled to find her best form at times in recent months, but this was a hugely impressive display from the Tunisian who was cheered on by a big crowd in Abu Dhabi.
Raducanu fell behind early in the first set, but pulled herself back into the contest at 5-4 before Jabeur closed it out with some impressive serving.
The more experienced player then ran away with the second set, but there were encouraging signs for Raducanu in a match that saw Jabeur produce some of her best tennis for some time.
“She didn’t make it easy for me,” said Jabeur. “Emma is such an amazing player. I wish her all the best.
“I know she can play much better. I’m a big fan of her. I’m looking forward to seeing her win more matches. Not against me, but against other players.
“Emma had an amazing experience at the US Open and everyone followed her after that. She has an amazing career.
“Everyone has a different story. We struggle a lot, but we work so hard to be here.
“I’m so proud to be part of the WTA. There are a lot of amazing women on the tour and I hope we see big crowds come and support us.”
Jabeur’s performance suggested she can get back into the mix at the top of the women’s game, with the world No 6 displaying great invention during the match against Raducanu.
She also gave an engaging on-court interview to an adoring crowd, as this Arab sporting icon offered up some inspirational words.
“I come from a very very small country that has a lot of potential,” she said, amid cheers from the crowd.
“I try to show the best of me on and off the court and I try to show the best example possible.
“I’m very proud to be a Tunisian and Arab woman. To show the example that Nothing is impossible.
“I wish all the best for all the women from my country & Arab countries. Also for the men, so they don’t get jealous.”
a decisive debut
— wta (@WTA) February 7, 2024
Jabeur will move on to a quarter-final against Beatriz Haddad Maia, with Raducanu’s next tournament yet to be confirmed after she seemed to have some discomfort in her left ankle during the match.
This is the ankle that she had surgery on last year and while she didn’t call the trainer out during this match, she appeared to mouth to her box ‘my ankle’ with some concern to her coach Nick Cavaday.
The good news was she finished the match without showing too many signs of discomfort and that has to bode well for the challenges that lie ahead.
Assuming there are not any major issues with the ankle, Raducanu will have a chance to build on what was another promising display against a top class opponent.
Raducanu’s stinging ground shots gave Jabeur trouble at times during the match, with her fist serve also packing a punch when she landed it.
The consistency and variety she will need to get back to the elite level of the game was lacking and that was partly due to the high-quality tennis coming at her from Jabeur.
Yet if Raducanu gets some fortune with the draws she gets in her upcoming events, she has shown enough to inspire hope of a bright future.
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