Emma Raducanu narrowly avoided a humbling ‘double-bagel’ defeat as she crashed out of the Sydney International to world number 13 Elena Rybakina.
The 19-year-old US Open champion was thumped 6-0 6-1 in 55 minutes in her first match since recovering from a bout of coronavirus.
Raducanu’s defeat came on the same day she secured a ranking of 17 for next week’s Australian Open, and she will now be painfully aware of the size of her task ahead.
The British player was overpowered by her opponent, fresh off a run to the final of the Adelaide International last week, and lost the first nine games of the match.
Raducanu flashed a smile after avoiding the indignity of a shut-out in the 10th game but she continued to be let down by a second-serve percentage that barely scraped over 10 per cent.
Raducanu saved the first two match points against her with arguably her two best shots of the match, before succumbing to the inevitable as Rybakina eased into the last 16.