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Emma Raducanu exits Madrid Open to Argentine who claims her first ever WTA 1000 win

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Two

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Two© Getty

Emma Raducanu suffered a one-sided defeat to qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle in her return to the Madrid Open. Just 12 months after pulling out of the tournament to undergo surgery, the Brit fell at the first hurdle as the world No. 82 won her first WTA 1000 match 6-2 6-2.

Raducanu had been set for a blockbuster first-round match against Karolina Pliskova but the former world No. 1 withdrew ahead of the tournament and was replaced by qualifier Carle. The Argentine was competing in just her second WTA 1000 main draw and had never won a tour-level match.

But she benefitted from getting in two matches during the qualifying event and came out swinging, breaking Raducanu to love. The British No. 6 had a chance to get back on serve but she blew two break points as Carle came through a tough game and secured a double-break.

Raducanu pegged one back but it was a third successive break as the 24-year-old pulled ahead again and stormed through the opening set to claim it 6-2, landing 90 per cent of her first serves as the Brit hit more than a dozen unforced errors.

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Two© Getty

The world No. 221 left the court for a comfort break but was immediately broken when she returned as Carle inched closer to her first WTA 1000 win. The second set followed the pattern of the first with Raducanu getting back on serve before the Argentine raced into a double-break lead. 

Five break points came and went for Raducanu as she trailed 1-4 but she couldn't convert any of them and Carle put herself within a game of victory. Raducanu managed to get on the board one final time but the world No. 82 sent her out of the tournament, sealing her first tour-level victory since July 2022.

It's a disappointing result considering Raducanu's strong start to the clay season, which saw her win four matches in a row for the first time since she lifted the 2021 US Open trophy. The 21-year-old won both of her matches during Britain's Billie Jean King Cup qualifier tie against France and reached the quarter-final of last week's Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

But she will want to forget her brief outing in Madrid, where her usual coach Nick Cavaday was noticeably absent from her box due to prior commitments, with the LTA's Iain Bates stepping in. 

Story by Yasmin Syed: Daily Express

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