Emma Raducanu knocked out of Madrid Open by Anhelina Kalinina as injury problems appear again
Emma Raducanu was hampered by yet more injury problems as she was knocked out of the Madrid Open by Anhelina Kalinina.
Blisters on her hands and feet as well as a hip issue in Guadalajara have been just some of the issues to plague the 19-year-old this season as she has struggled for consistency.
Raducanu was out-of-sorts and outmuscled in an opening set in Madrid that lasted just 35 minutes, after which she briefly left the court for a medical timeout having clutched her back on a couple of occasions.
Amazingly, she seemed rejuvenated and took advantage of an error count creeping up from her opponent to take the last-16 match to a decider, only for Kalinina to hold her nerve and prevail 6-2 2-6 6-4.
While Kalinina can look forward to a quarter-final showdown against Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann, Raducanu, seeded ninth in the Spanish capital, can take some solace for her dogged determination.
“I would have given myself a 5% chance of winning that match, and for it to almost happen, I think that was a positive thing,” Raducanu told reporters.
“I was kind of struggling a bit with my back, to be honest. Throughout the week I have been carrying some niggles, and it’s kind of just taking its toll, all of the matches at this kind of level.
“I did go into the match with that, and I was really struggling to move out wide.”
An epic spanning two hours and 19 minutes - including a gruelling 63-minute final set - did not seem to be on the cards when a listless Raducanu was broken to love in her opening service game.
Kalinina, who lost just three games in beating former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza earlier this week, simply overpowered Raducanu in a one-sided first set where the Briton, wearing strapping on her upper left leg, was troubled by her back.
While the reigning US Open champion had no answers to her rival’s groundstrokes on both wings, but particularly her impressive backhand, Raducanu was much improved in the second set following some treatment off court.
There was little doubting Kalinina’s levels had dropped and Raducanu ruthlessly took advantage to level proceedings with the momentum seemingly on her side.
Kalinina found her range again but this time Raducanu refused to buckle and they traded ferocious blows, with the world number 11 battling back from 3-1 to reel off three games in a row.
But as both players seemed to fatigue, Kalinina produced a sublime acute backhand that proved just out of reach to get the decisive break before sealing victory in the next game when Raducanu volleyed wide.
Additional reporting by PA Sport.