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Emma Raducanu: Briton suffers early exit at Mutua Madrid Open against world No 82 Maria Lourdes Carle

Emma Raducanu went tumbling out of the Madrid Open after suffering a 6-2 6-2 defeat by world No 82 Maria Lourdes Carle; Jack Draper through to second round; you can watch over 80 tournaments a year, including the US Open, exclusively live on Sky Sports Tennis

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Highlights from Emma Raducanu's first-round loss to Maria Lourdes Carle in the Mutua Madrid Open

Emma Raducanu's clay-court form took a dive at the Madrid Open on Wednesday as the Brit exited the tournament after a first-round straight-sets defeat by world No 82 Maria Lourdes Carle.

Raducanu came into the contest on a high after winning four of her last five matches following excellent performances in the Billie Jean King Cup for Great Britain and the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart.

But the Briton complained of "feeling tired" in the build-up to Madrid and she went out at the first hurdle to Carle 6-2 6-2 on Pista Arantxa Sanchez.

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Raducanu won very few points throughout the contest, but this winner was arguably her best from an overall disappointing display

"I'm going to recharge a bit," Raducanu said after her defeat. "From the performance today it was very clear that mentally and emotionally, I was exhausted. It's a shame, but I guess the sport is just pretty brutal."

Playing with strapping around the front of her left knee, the 2021 US Open champion was viewed as a strong favourite against qualifier Carle.

But the 21-year-old, who endured an injury-hit 2023, produced an error-strewn display on the clay, winning just 13/26 first serve points and 2/14 on her second serve.

Carle, who beat a pair of Aussies - Taylah Preston and Astra Sharma - to reach her second-ever WTA 1000 main draw, broke Raducanu's serve six times to land her first WTA main-draw match win since 2022, and second-ever at a clay-court WTA event.

Also See:

Fleming: Raducanu's body language hard to understand; she didn't give it her all

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Colin Fleming and Anne Keothavong debate whether Raducanu should play French Open qualifying or wait for the grass season after her disappointing loss in Madrid

"[I am] a little bit shocked to be honest. The second set in particular, I just thought the body language from Emma was hard to understand," said former player Colin Fleming on Sky Sports Tennis.

"Even the break points at 4-1, it wasn't impossible to come back with the skillsets of the two players, but there wasn't an ounce of body language that said 'I believe I can come back or want to come back'.

"It was inevitable from there. Very strange! I know she's spoken about being tired and things, but on the match court, you go and give it everything you've got.

"And if you're not fit enough to play, you don't play.

"I don't think Emma gave it her all. She didn't compete, which was tough to watch. I have to say."

Keothavong: Raducanu didn't show up

Emma Raducanu, of Britain, competes against Maria Lourdes Carle, of Argentina, during the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Image: Raducanu produced an error-strewn display at the Magic Box in Madrid

"It was a tough one. I don't think you can analyse the tennis because Emma the performer didn't show up today," said British Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong.

"And if any athlete doesn't show up ready to play, you don't really stand a chance.

"She got off to a slow start and was never able to regroup or find her way. Credit her opponent, who came out with fire and energy and she was the one who looked up for it and was ready for the fight.

"We talk a lot about head, heart and legs, and if your head and your heart aren't in it, your legs don't stand a chance.

"It was really disappointing to see. She said she was tired, but do you talk yourself into more tiredness?"

Osaka wins first match on clay since 2022

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Highlights of Naomi Osaka's opening round clash against Greet Minnen

Former world No 1 Naomi Osaka posted her first clay-court win in two years after defeating lucky loser Greet Minnen 6-4 6-1.

The four-time Grand Slam champion will face Liudmila Samsonova in the second round for the second time this year.

Draper impresses against Kokkinakis to set up Hurkacz rematch

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Highlights of Jack Draper's win over Thanasi Kokkinakis in the opening round of the Madrid Open

But there was British cheer in the men's draw in Madrid on Wednesday as Jack Draper scratched his recent three-set itch in an impressive victory over Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis.

British No 2 Draper triumphed 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 and will now play Hubert Hurkacz in Friday's second round, the player who knocked him out of the Monte-Carlo Masters in three sets a fortnight ago.

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Draper says his win was a 'real confidence booster' and was proud of the way he stepped up at the Madrid Open

"It was tough," Draper told Sky Sports. "I've lost a few 7-6s in the third recently.

"Kokkinakis is such an amazing player, he's had some great results throughout his career beating the likes of [Roger] Federer, so he can really play.

"So I'm really proud of the way I stepped up today in the key moments and this is what it's all about, learning from errors. I'm going to lose many more but hopefully I'll win some more too, so I'm really proud of the way I came through."

In an impressive show of sportsmanship in what proved the final game as Kokkinakis served to try and stay in the match, Draper told the umpire at 0-15 down that his opponent should be allowed to take his first serve again after the Australian faulted following a noise heard in the distance.

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Draper explains why he allowed Thanasi Kokkinakis to retake his first serve at a crucial point in their first-round match

"I know Kokkinakis and I know a lot of the players now, so I know that if I was in that position and a loud noise goes off on a serve it's best to give them that second serve," explained Draper.

"He was kind of serving great anyway so I thought he's probably going to hit an ace or something. It's important to show some sportsmanship here and there, and it makes you feel better as well when you're playing."

British No 2 Harriet Dart followed Raducanu out of the tournament with a 6-4 6-4 defeat by Cristina Bucsa of Spain.

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