Emma Raducanu’s US Open title defence ended at the first hurdle with a nightmare straight-sets loss to France’s Alize Cornet at Flushing Meadows in New York.
Raducanu did not drop a set in 10 matches last year but she was error-prone on a windy New York evening and fell to a 6-3 6-3 defeat.
The 19-year-old’s ranking will now plummet to around the 80 mark but, after a year that has been far from easy, she may feel a sense of relief that this moment is over and she can seek to build more solid foundations for her tennis career.
Raducanu, who did not lose a set in 10 matches last year, although disappointed, welcomed the clean slate that the loss will bring.
“Obviously it’s really disappointing, I’m really sad to leave here. It’s probably my favourite tournament,” said Raducanu.
“But also in a way I’m happy because it’s a clean slate. I’m going to drop down the rankings. Climb my way back up. The target will be off my back slightly.”
Venus Williams kept quiet on what her future would hold after a first-round defeat to Alison Van Uytvanck; Naomi Osaka was also beaten by Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins.
The 42-year-old Venus is now ranked down at 1,504 and has won only one match since the Australian Open in January 2021, but she declined to say whether she will be following sister Serena into retirement after this tournament.
Osaka has struggled for form and fitness this year and this was another low point as she lost in the first round for the first time in New York, going down 7-6 (5) 6-3.- Sky Sports