Emma Raducanu paid the price for a slow start as she suffered a disappointing 6-0 7-6 loss to Anhelina Kalinina in the first round of the Qatar Open.
The Briton was completely out of sorts in a first set that lasted just 22 minutes, but raised his level even further in an even more competitive second.
Raducanu showed great spirit to save two match points with Kalinina serving to seal the match at 6-5, but he then missed a set point of his own in the tie-break before losing 8-6. .
It was the first time in the four tournaments Raducanu has played since his return in January after an eight-month injury layoff that the 21-year-old has made an opening-round exit.
“I think I struggled with everything, serve, return, forehand, backhand,” Raducanu told Sky Sports.
“I honestly feel like I haven’t really gotten into it. I think it’s a combination of things. It’s like my first day game I think I’ve played in a year, so that’s different.
“Actually, I think I should practice training outside more because it’s very different and also the light, the conditions, the shadows – it’s very difficult to see the ball, I found in the end.
“Without tennis, you have to try to fight and I think I did that in the second set.”
Kalinina, the world No 30, who has now won both of her WTA Tour meetings with Raducanu, will face eighth seed Jelena Ostapenko in the second round in Doha.
More to follow…
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