Emma Raducanu to seek 'long-term' answer to wrist problem
By Simon Briggs, in Miami
Emma Raducanu leaves Miami under an injury cloud after she admitted that she cannot continue playing through pain in her right wrist.
Raducanu kept shaking out her right hand throughout her hard-fought 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 loss against former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu on Wednesday. She could be heard complaining to her support staff that she couldn’t feel the ball properly on her racket.
Afterwards, she told reporters that she will be seeking new medical opinions after a frustrating period, which stretches back to when the area first flared up around last year’s US Open.
“It’s something I have been managing for some time,” said Raducanu. “I just need to review after this tournament really and figure out what my next steps are. We have been managing it, keeping on top of it. I'm able to play in the short-term. But the current solutions aren't very viable long-term.
“This year has been difficult in the sense that I have been managing a few existing injuries. Yeah, that has been annoying and frustrating because I've been working as best as I can. But I feel like I'm enjoying the competition.”
This latest setback comes at a time when Raducanu’s fortunes had seemed to be picking up. She scored two victories over top-25 opposition in Indian Wells over the last fortnight, and was highly competitive against Andreescu, especially during a second set in which she hit 14 winners as against only 11 unforced errors.
But every time her wrist worsens, Raducanu triggers unfortunate memories of Laura Robson – the 2008 junior Wimbledon champion whose career ebbed away quickly after she contracted wrist tendinitis in the later months of 2013.
Such chronic conditions can be extremely difficult to resolve, for this is one joint which must be loaded and released on every shot. Another meteoric talent – Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro – endured a similarly frustrating process with his own fragile wrists, and eventually had to settle for slicing his backhand because he couldn’t consistently hit through it with both hands.
Raducanu’s post-breakthrough career continues to be blighted by non-stop issues with her fitness and health. But she can perhaps learn from her opponent on Wednesday, because she has so much in common with Andreescu, starting with their family heritage. Both women have Romanian surnames, and both were born in Toronto, before the Raducanus relocated to London in 2005.
The parallels continue into their tennis careers, as they were both teenagers when they won the US Open, and have both had to retrench since that early, life-changing success. At 22, Andreescu is a little further down the track. Her greater experience, variety and fitness made the difference as she accelerated towards the finish line on Wednesday.
Andreescu was 19 when she landed her maiden grand-slam title in New York, five months older than Raducanu at the equivalent moment. But she then suffered a serious knee injury which was compounded by mental health issues – and a heavy Covid infection – around the time of the pandemic.
Having dropped back to a low point of No121 in the world last April, Andreescu is only now working her way back into the seeded positions – and her reinvention could potentially serve as a model for Raducanu in the future.
As for the dynamics of the match, Raducanu will regret wasting a 0-40 advantage on Andreescu’s serve in the opening game of the deciding set. Although she enjoyed periods of superiority, she started slowly and then also seemed to be flagging a little towards the end. At 2hr 33min, this was the longest match she has played all season.
More negatives than positives
There were some flashes of Raducanu's best there, especially in that second set, but it has to be a concern that she appears unable to find consistency at present.
She lacked any kind of push-back in that final set and looked very tired at the end. Plenty to work and reflect on for the Briton you feel.
Amazon Prime reaction
Anne Keovathong speaking on Amazon Prime:
"There was something a little flat about that performance from Emma"
Bianca Andreescu beats Emma Raducanu 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
Raducanu looks a shade weary as she falls to 0-15 but then does well to soak up some powerful hitting to get back to parity.
The hitting is just cleaner from Andreescu though, who looks to have a little more left in the tank here. A clean backhand winner down the line brings up match point for the Canadien.
And that's it...game, set and match.
Raducanu* 3-6, 6-3, 2-5 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Raducanu must win this game you feel or this match is done. Points are traded at the start of the game before Andreescu nets on a rudimentary forehand. 15-30...a chance for Raducanu?
Quickly eradicated after a smart slice serve from Andreescu before Raducanu hits back; scrambling well to get a break point. She nets with a backhand off a ball at mid-court though and looks up to the heavens. Big miss there.
And Andreescu makes her pay after two good serves bring about a vital hold.
Raducanu 3-6, 6-3, 2-4 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu goes wide with a cross-court backhand much to her dismay, a few big moments aren't going the Britons way here. Two points later another error, this time on the forehand side and Raducanu is on the back foot at 15-30.
Hmmm...now a double fault. Two break points for Andreescu.
She misses the first after a fairly easy forehand pass goes awry. One saved for Raducanu.
No mistake with the next though, as Andreescu's powerful blows from the back of the court prove too much for the Briton.
Big break of serve there.
Raducanu* 3-6, 6-3, 2-3 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
At 30-0 down Raducanu displays great court awareness and ability to move Andreescu around the court before dispatching a fine backhand volley. But that's her only highlight from a game that the Canadian was always in control of - Andreescu holds to 15, and the pressure is back on the Briton.
I'll now leave you in the more-than-capable hands of Tom Ward.
Raducanu 3-6, 6-3, 2-2 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
At 30-15 Raducanu gets in a good serve allowing her to attack the net - it looks for all the world as though the point is hers until she hits the drive volley wide. At deuce the Briton is under pressure, that only increases when a wayward groundstroke earns Andreescu break point. However, Raducanu has been calm when up against it these past two weeks and takes the next point to get it back to deuce. And she again shows nerves of steel to hold.
Raducanu forcing the pace
Raducanu* 3-6, 6-3, 1-2 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
That's Andreescu's best game in some time as she, as with Raducanu the game before, holds to love.
Raducanu 3-6, 6-3, 1-1 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu has been strong on serve since the first set and that continues here as she holds to love.
Raducanu* 3-6, 6-3, 0-1 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
It's Andreescu to serve first in this final set and she's 0-30 down in the blink of an eye. Thanks to a long forehand that's soon 0-40 and Raducanu has three break points.
The Canadian saves the first with a forehand rushing into the net, then the second with a good first serve forcing the error from the Briton. She then saves the third as Raducanu hits too long. At deuce Andreescu earns a vital service point and takes the game with a delicate drop shot - gutsy.
Good stuff from Raducanu that set
A stunner from Emma ❤️🔥@EmmaRaducanu | #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/U6VgV0peEE
— wta (@WTA) March 22, 2023
Raducanu takes the second set 6-3
Raducanu is serving for the second set after that mammoth game. And she races to a 30-0 lead, an ace (her second of the match) two points later earns her two set points and she closes it out.
That was a good set for the Briton, from the off she was more aggressive and took the game to Andresscu. That mammoth eighth game was key - had she not won that you fear she may have been undone, but she did take it after seven break points and the match is now level.
Raducanu* 3-6, 5-3 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Andreescu starts this game well taking a 30-0 lead before Raducanu takes the next two points to again put the Canadian under pressure on her serve. A horrible net cord goes the way of Andreescu but 40-30 soon becomes deuce. And Raducanu earns a break point thanks to a long forehand from the Canadian who dishes out the first ace of the set - timing...
From there the game tos and fros, with four deuces following. Raducanu then earns another break point with some great defence and a forehand winner. Can she capitalise on this? No, she cannot as Andreescu dominates the next rally before playing an aggressive backhand, crosscourt winner.
More pressure from Raducanu follows as she earns her third break point of this long game. Can she make this one count? No, she cannot as a she send a forehand long.
An Andreescu forehand then goes long and Raducanu has her fourth break point - surely she can make this one count? Alas, she cannot as the Canadian dishes up another ace - poise under pressure that point...
A fifth break point follows thanks to a fine drive volley from the Briton BUT again Andreescu hang on in there, taking the next point with a forehand down the line - can you believe it?!
Yep, you've guessed it, Raducanu earns a sixth break point with a forehand winner and and yes, the Canadian takes it back to deuce virtue of a volley at the net.
Will anyone win this game?
Yes, they will and it goes the way of the Briton. She has been more aggressive this set and earns a seventh break point of this loooooooong game with a forehand before finally breaking the Canadian. AT LAST - that game took, by my calculation, a good 20 or so minutes...
Raducanu 3-6, 4-3 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Big game this and it starts with a great forehand down the line from Andreescu that Raducanu cannot keep out. That's followed up with a forehand into the net from the Briton and she's under pressure at 0-30. Raducanu then again serves well under pressure - two serves right into the far corner to get it back to 30-30. Great ball-striking and urgency from the Briton then forces the error from Andreescu and she has a hard-fought service point. And she again holds firm to hold serve. Another gutsy service game from Raducanu.
Raducanu* 3-6, 3-3 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
That was the service game of Andreescu from the first set - dominant and always in control, she holds to love with ease.
Big game coming up you suspect.
Raducanu 3-6, 3-2 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu is starting to find her feet. She holds to 15 and has only lost two points on her serve this set, she takes this game with a fine crosscourt forehand winner. Yet more promising signs for the Briton.
Raducanu* 3-6, 2-2 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
The tables have turned here - it's now Andreescu under pressure on serve as Raducanu gets it to 0-30. The Canadian, however, holds her nerve and in the process her serve by winning the next four points. She celebrates by bellowing a 'come on!' indicating how important she felt that hold was.
Raducanu 3-6, 2-1 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Much better from the Briton here. She looks in control on serve, something you couldn't say in the first set. She holds to love - her first love hold of the match. Early stages of the set but promising signs for Raducanu.
Raducanu* 3-6, 1-1 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Andreescu has the ability to mix up her tactics and that is illustrated second point of this game as she plays a cute drop volley to get to 30-0. But Raducanu gets it back to 30-30 and on second serve the next point it's the Canadian under pressure on serve. The Briton plays a wonderful forehand winner off that second serve and has her first break point of the match. Andreescu though holds her nerve to win the next three points and take the game. Something for Raducanu to build on however.
Raducanu 3-6, 1-0 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Good from Raducanu she holds to 15 and looked more animated there. She needs to take the game to Andreescu.
Andreescu takes first set 6-3
Raducanu's been under pressure on serve from the off, Andreescu hasn't and that trend continues here. Having had three set points she fails to win the first two but eventually holds to 30 and takes the first set in the process in 44 minutes.
The Canadian has been in control all set and hasn't looked rushed. Raducanu hasn't played badly, but from the moment she was broken in her first service game was always under pressure and playing catch up.
Raducanu 3-5 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu is serving to stay in the first set, she's served well under pressure do far can she continue that trend here?
The answer is 'yes'.
She's under pressure at 15-30 and then a long forehand gives Andreescu a set point. But she gets it back to deuce and a good first serve forces the error from Andreescu and from there she again holds. Another display of grit and calm under pressure from the Briton.
Poor leave from Raducanu
Bianca's reaction is everything here 😂@Bandreescu_ | #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/DYzc1oGh8K
— wta (@WTA) March 22, 2023
Raducanu* 2-5 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Andreescu is playing well, the first point of this game sees her move Raducanu around the court before playing a cute forehand winner. She doesn't look rushed and always seems to be in control. The Canadian holds to 15, taking the game with another ace - her fourth.
Raducanu 2-4 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
The first point of the game sees Raducanu leave a forehand from Andreescu when she could have played a volleyed winner - the ball lands 20cm in and the Briton looks pained, poor judgement that. She battles back but at deuce she's again under pressure on her serve. A forehand into the net gives Andreescu - who is timing the ball well - a break point. Can Raducanu hold here? She saves this break point and then with a great forehand on the run followed up with a volley earns herself a service point. From there she makes no mistake - a gritty hold. She's a break down but is staying competitive in this opening set.
Raducanu* 1-4 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Andreescu is very much in control - she's got the early break and has maintained. She holds to 15.
Raducanu 1-3 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Early days, I know, but Raducanu needs a confidence-boosting service game here...It starts off badly, a brilliant lobbed winner from Andreescu is followed by a forehand into the net from the Briton that makes it 0-30. She's under pressure but bounces back well to get it to 30-30. A wide serve earns Raducanu her first service point of the match and a long Andreescu forehand gives Raducanu the game. Good comeback from the Briton there, that should give her some belief.
Raducanu* 0-3 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
There's a real sense of danger with Andreescu at the moment - she's on top most of the points and another brutal backhand down the line, followed up with an ace illustrates her confidence. That makes it 40-15 and another ace - her third of the match - takes her to an early 3-0 lead.
Raducanu 0-2 Andreescu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu's first service game is patchy.
At 15-15 Andreescu plays a peach of a backhand down the line winner. Raducanu is staying in the points with both putting a lot of pace on the ball. Andreescu, however, is looking lively and earns the first break point of the match with a drive volley on the run. Raducanu gets it to deuce with a good first serve and volley, but she's under pressure the next point with a forehand into the net. Having saved her second break point she has to save a third and this time she cannot prevent the Canadian from taking the point, a long forehand her undoing.
Raducanu* 0-1 Andreescu (*denotes next server)
Raducanu won the toss and opted to receive.
A long forehand from the Canadian gives Raducanu an early 0-30 lead. But two long groundstrokes from the Briton gets Andreescu to 30-30 before the 2019 US Open champion (that's the Canadian) holds to 30 after the first ace of the match.
Weather is good in Florida
It's mid-20s and not too much humidity, according to Amazon Prime's Sam Smith.
The two players are out on court
So shouldn't be long until the match is under way.
This is a meeting of two former US Open champions
Raducanu, as we all know, winning in 2021, and Andreescu in 2019.
They've met just the once - in Rome last year, but the match was cut short when Raducanu was forced to retire.
Emma Raducanu in confident mood after run to last-16 at Indian Wells
Emma Raducanu comes into the Miami Open on the back of her best run of wins and best victory since her memorable US Open win in 2021.
Last week under the palm trees of Indian Wells the Briton won three consecutive matches, the last two - over Magda Linette and Beatriz Haddad Maia - her best showing, in terms of rankings, since her breakthrough triumph. They came before she was beaten in straight sets by world No 1 Iga Swiatek, but that defeat could not cloud what was a good week for Raducanu.
Not least because the Briton only assessed her fitness level as being at 35 per cent. And after her run to the last 16 she was understandably happy with her form.
“It feels good, it gives me confidence,” Raducanu said. “I think especially because of where I was before this tournament, didn’t think I would even play, to be honest. When I’m telling you I haven’t trained, like I haven’t trained.
"I would say there is a very long way to go, but I’m definitely starting the right work now...I think I had a few good wins earlier against some great opponents. I did two good training weeks in London. They paid off to an extent but ultimately two weeks of training isn't going to cut it against the world No 1 right now.
"I'm looking forward to playing her after I've got more time under my belt.
"Physically I feel like that's going to be one of my biggest assets. I think that I'm going to be one of the best athletes on the tour, and that's going to be a big part of my game.
"I would say there is a very long way to go, but I'm definitely starting the right work now."
Today she faces Bianca Andreescu who Swiatek also beat at Indian Wells. The Canadian fared slightly better than Raducanu's 6-3, 6-2 loss, coming short in a second-set tie-break and ultimately losing 6-3, 7-6.
Swiatek said Andreescu was tough to play against adding she "had a great defence" and used a sliced backhand "that was tricky to face."
Stay here for all the action with the players set to be on court at 4pm.