French Open: Emma Raducanu loses second-round match at Roland Garros

Emma Raducanu was playing in the senior draw of the French Open for the first time
Dates: 22 May-5 June Venue: Roland Garros, Paris
Coverage: Live text and radio commentaries of selected matches across BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, the BBC Sport website and app

British number one Emma Raducanu was unable to capitalise on a one-set lead as her French Open debut ended with a defeat in the second round.

Raducanu, 19, lost 3-6 6-1 6-1 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

The 12th seed was unable to take any of five break points in a pivotal third game in the decider, Sasnovich breaking in the next to enable her to win.

The US Open champion has lost in the second round in her two Grand Slams since the win in New York last year.

Raducanu’s exit means there are no British women left in the singles draw, with Heather Watson and Harriet Dart losing in the first round.

British men’s number one Cameron Norrie is aiming to become the first of the nation’s players to reach the third round on the Paris clay this year, taking on Australia’s Jason Kubler on Wednesday.

Raducanu improving but still developing

Raducanu played 47th-ranked Sasnovich in her first match as a Grand Slam champion, losing in straight sets at Indian Wells last October, but said she was a “different player now”.

Seven months on, Raducanu is still trying to find her feet in a debut full season on the WTA Tour which has provided significant challenges.

That learning curve has been particularly different to most teenagers beginning their careers because of the added attention that comes with being a major champion.

The main hurdle has been coping with the rigours of playing full-time against the world’s best players, with a constant stream of niggling injuries hampering her progress.

A back injury was an issue going into the French Open and seemed to be far from her physical peak as she faded badly against Sasnovich.

But Raducanu is likely to look back on her debut clay-court season with a decent amount of pride, having won six of her 11 matches on the surface.

Raducanu unable to capitalise on lead

After coming under pressure at the start of the first set, Raducanu figured out 28-year-old Sasnovich, stuck to her gameplan and was able to bring out more errors from her opponent.

While the scoreline perhaps flattered Raducanu, it seemed likely she would use the platform to maintain her confidence and potentially improve further.

The teenager has proved to be a good front-runner, most notably in her US Open run, and had lost just two of the 20 matches where she had won the first set from Flushing Meadows onwards.

But something was different during the second set on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

The emotion she showed during the opening set disappeared and her body language quickly changed as Sasnovich began to find the time to again start executing crisp winners.

A number of cross-court forehands proved particularly devastating at the start of the second set, with the Belarusian also showing a delicate touch to break for a 3-0 lead which she never looked like relinquishing.

Raducanu nipped off court before the decider, perhaps aiming to seek inspiration from a moment of solitude.

However, she made an error with a forehand return at 30-30 in the opening game and her frustrations – hands covering her face as she bowed her head and turned away from the court – were clear.

Despite that blow, she regrouped and had five chances to take the lead by breaking Sasnovich’s serve in a tense third game.

None of them could be taken as the Belarusian rallied to hold a 13-minute game and from that point, Raducanu never looked like winning as her physical levels dropped.

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