Australian Open 2023 results: Emma Raducanu loses to Coco Gauff in Melbourne

Emma Raducanu became the last British player to fall in the women’s singles
Place: Melbourne Park Dates: 16-29 January
Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected text commentary and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

British number one Emma Raducanu is out of the Australian Open after losing in straight sets to Coco Gauff in a gripping second round clash.

Raducanu, ranked 77th in the world, acquitted himself very well against the American seventh seed, but a lack of games told in a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss.

The 20-year-old had been battling an ankle injury before the Melbourne major.

Defeat means Raducanu has not reached the third round of a Grand Slam since her stunning US Open victory in 2021.

Had she been able to take one of two set points at 5-4 in the second – which would have forced a deciding set – it could have led to a different outcome.

Teenager Gauff, who famously reached the last 16 at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old in 2019, is among the favorites to win the title at Melbourne Park.

“I told myself to hang in there, Emma was playing really good tennis towards the end of the match,” said 18-year-old Gauff.

“It was a good quality fight for the most part. This was a long awaited fight so I’m glad it was a good fight for the crowd.”

Aiming for her first Grand Slam triumph, Gauff will face Chinese 29th seed Qinwen Zheng or fellow American Bernarda Pera in the third round on Friday.

Raducanu’s exit means there is no British interest left in the women’s singles, while Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray and Dan Evans will still play their second-round matches in the men’s draw.

Norrie, seeded 11th, is scheduled to play in Wednesday’s final match at the Kia Arena, but it remains to be seen whether he will get the chance to take the field against French world number 65 Constant Lestienne.

A backlog of matches still to be played remains after lengthy rain delays in Melbourne meant play on the outdoor pitches did not start until 5pm local time (06:00 GMT).

Raducanu can take pride and positivity from achievements

Raducanu admitted it has been a “huge achievement” to even make it to the court at Melbourne Park this week after the ankle injury she suffered in Auckland 13 days ago.

Rolling her left ankle meant she had to withdraw from her match against Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova, leaving Raducanu in tears as she left the court.

Before her opening match against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, she said she had “full confidence” in her ankle, but her movement was always going to be tested more against Gauff.

The issue did not appear to be a factor as Raducanu went toe-to-toe with the French Open finalist in a match packed with intense baseline rallies.

Raducanu grew in confidence as the match went on, playing on the front foot and pinning Gauff back with his aggressive and accurate ground runs.

But her lack of court time also told with some loose shots letting Gauff off the hook at key moments, including when the Brit missed two set points by hitting a slightly impatient long backhand and then a drop shot into the net.

Although any defeat hurts, Raducanu will undoubtedly look back on this achievement with a lot of pride and positivity for the future.

Emma Raducanu and Coco Gauff embrace each other after their Australian Open match
Raducanu and Gauff, who have become friends on tour, shared a warm embrace after an entertaining match

The start of a long rivalry?

Eyes were immediately drawn to this potential match-up when the draw for the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2023 season was made last week – and the contest between two of the sport’s most exciting prospects did not disappoint.

Admittedly, there were many errors from both rackets. But there was plenty of quality in an entertaining match that will have left many eager to see this develop into a long and lasting rivalry.

Gauff is the younger player with more experience, but Raducanu is the one who is already a major champion – a label Gauff is keen to add to her resume this season.

That’s what made this fight such an exciting prospect.

Gauff warmed up for the Australian Open by winning a WTA event in Auckland and appeared to be cruising to victory when she was a set and a break down.

But doubts began to creep into her game – particularly on her forehand side – as Raducanu rallied in the second set.

An old failure returned when a double fault gave Raducanu three break chances at 4-3 and the American gave the first with an unconvincing forehand at the net.

However, Gauff showed his greater experience in regrouping mentally and getting through the tie-break.

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