Emma Raducanu’s thrilling Citi Open career has ended with a quarter-final loss to Ludmilla Samsonova in Washington. Despite a tight first set, the second seed was eventually beaten 7-6 (6), 6-1 as the Russian world number 60 saved four set points en route to taking the first set, before coming home in the second with nine aces. and 33 winners to take the game.
Raducanu proved to be her own worst enemy, with just eight winners and a single ace to go along with 24 unforced errors, as she struggled with Samsanova’s power. The British teenager, who begins the defense of her US Open crown in just over three weeks, was crushed in the second set as her serve failed and her hitting radar earth disappeared in action.
After her comeback against Colombia’s Camila Osorio, the long-awaited quarter-finals were due to start at 22:00 BST. However, a three-hour rain delay, followed by an epic curtain-raiser between Britain’s Dan Evans and eventual winner Yoshihito Nishioka that turned into a three-and-a-half-hour thriller, meant the women did not make it on the track until fair. before 23:00 local time.
The delay clearly affected Raducanu as he faltered at the start of his serve and found himself with a break early on. However, a partisan crowd of 500 waving Union Jacks and wearing England football shirts inspired the 19-year-old to rally and she soon found her rhythm, putting Samsonova in second match
Struggling with Samsonova’s powerful forehand, Raducanu dug deep to hold on to rallies and her resilience frustrated the Russian into errors as she hit long, wide or into the net. But Samsonova’s 115mph rifle serve beat Raducanu’s pop gun at 95mph and pace and power soon took their toll. The young Briton looked visibly shaken as her opponent fired two aces against the run of play to go 4-2 up in the first set. Even then, showing maturity and courage, Raducanu stood his ground and got behind the baseline to force more fouls.
When the first set went to a tie-break, it was Raducanu who took advantage, going up 5-2 when Samsonova netted a drop shot. On serve, Raducanu had more chances to take the first set, but errant forehands squandered the chances and a 5-2 lead dissolved into an 8-6 victory for Samsonova.
Nursing blisters on both hands, Raducanu continued to blow them as she blew more chances and her error count skyrocketed in the second set. She tried to take advantage of Samsonova’s forehand, but the tactic went south and she was soon 3-0 down at the start of the second set. She managed to hold a service game but quickly succumbed to Samsonova’s powerful serve as the final three games went by in a blur.
Raducanu left without answering questions from the media, carrying a 2022 record that now reads 13 losses and 10 wins. He then heads north to the Canadian Open, starting Monday. Riding shotgun will be her new coach Dmitry Tursunov who is working with her on a “temporary” basis.
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