Emma Raducanu is optimistic about being able to compete Rome next week, although she was struggling with a back injury while bowing out of the Madrid Open after a three-set loss against Anhelina Kalinina.
Raducanu was out of shape and muscular in an opening set that lasted just 35 minutes, after which she briefly left the court for a medical time-out after clinching her back a couple of times.
Amazingly, she looked rejuvenated afterwards and used the drop in Kalinina’s level to force a decider, only for the unseeded Ukrainian to prevail 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes.
Raducanu will now wait and see if there are any ongoing problems with her back before deciding whether to travel to the Italian Open, but is confident about her condition.
“To be honest, I had a bit of a problem with my back,” Raducanu said. “I’ve been carrying a few small things with me throughout the week and it’s kind of taking its toll.
“I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do, whether I’m going home now or straight to Rome. The plan now is to go to Rome.
“I’m not sure when to start. Maybe Monday or Tuesday. I hope there is enough time because it would be a real shame to miss it.
“I’m feeling pretty positive. For me it’s often just overload and then two or three days of complete rest and I can start training again.”
While Raducanu has some minor maintenance issues Spanish Capital, where she was seeded ninth, the US Open winner believes she can take positives from the past few days.
Raducanu, who made her senior debut on clay just last month, was particularly encouraged by Tuesday night’s tenacious fight, even if she was losing.
She said: “I feel like I’m going through this and my body builds with every match I play. It was a great two and a half hour training session that will continue to develop me physically.
“I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made over the past few weeks and I think I’ve definitely done something to build on and continue to build on.
“I feel like my mentality and attitude about how I’m doing things is much better now.”
An epic of well over two hours – including a grueling 63-minute final set – seemed nowhere in sight as a listless Raducanu was broken to love in her service game.
Kalinina – who defeated Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Garbin Muguruza To reach that stage, he lost just three games against the latter – simply overpowered Raducanu in a one-sided first set.
Reflecting on the treatment that followed, Raducanu said, “I don’t know what magic they worked, but I had a numb back on the second and third sets, so I couldn’t feel anything.”
There was little doubt that Kalinina’s level had dropped in the second set, but Raducanu ruthlessly took advantage to level the match in the third round with momentum seemingly on her side.
Kalinina found her reach again but this time Raducanu refused to buckle and they exchanged fierce blows with the world No. 11 fighting back 3-1 to win three straight games.
But with both players appearing to be tiring, Kalinina produced a great, sharp backhand that proved out of reach to earn the crucial break before sealing victory in the next game when Raducanu missed a volley.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/emma-raducanu-rome-madrid-british-wta-b2071036.html Emma Raducanu is hoping to get over her injury to play in Rome