Agony for Raducanu as teen battles blisters in Aus Open defeat
Tennis fans have taken to the internet to react to Emma Raducanu's second-round defeat at the Australian Open.
The reigning US Open champion previously saw off another fellow former queen at Flushing Meadows in Sloane Stephens, and went into her meeting with world number 98 Danka Kovinic relaxed and confident.
Five games in, however, the 19-year-old had to request a lengthy medical time-out to receive treatment for a blister on her right hand and eventually lost the first set 6-4.
Battling on, the Brit clinched the second set by the same score and was commended for showing a good "tennis brain" by "completely changing her shot range and adapting her play to counter the raw blister on her racquet hand."
Calling it "excellent improvision" from the youngster, the same pundit said that "every match is a new experience for her."
Emma Raducanu showing what a good “tennis brain” she has, completely changing her shot range and adapting her play to counter the raw blister on her racquet hand to level at 1 set all v Kovinic. Excellent improvisation from the 19 year old. Every match is a new experience for her— Karthi Gnanasegaram (@KarthiSport) January 20, 2022
Yet Kovinic smelled blister-induced blood, and seized her opportunity to pounce on a weakened foe before eventually winning 6-4 4-6 6-3.
Making history in the progress, Kovinic became the first player representing Montenegro to reach the third round of a Grand Slam – as British tennis fans were left with only Dan Evans to cheer on after men's icon Andy Murray was beaten by Taro Daniel.
Danka Kovinic wins 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to become the first player from Montenegro to reach the third round of a Grand Slam.Emma Raducanu fought and she thought, and came pretty damn close to winning a match with one hand tied behind her back, but the blisters & Kovinic were too much. pic.twitter.com/CreJTKVlo6— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 20, 2022
History maker 🇲🇪@DankaKovinic upsets Emma Raducanu 6-4 4-6 6-3 to become the first player representing Montenegro to reach the third round of a Grand Slam. 🎥: @wwos • @espn • @Eurosport • @wowowtennis#AusOpen • #AO2022pic.twitter.com/wauKCPG1KU— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 20, 2022
But some fans were unsympathetic to Raducanu's plight, with one writing: "Blisters on her hands? Oh my god, that's as bad as David Haye's little toe causing him to lose to Wladimir Klitschko."
"Too much time spent at red carpet premiers and celebrity gatherings, no wonder," scolded another troll, in reference to how Raducanu's profile rapidly rose following her win in the US last autumn.
But there was far more support elsewhere, with some noting that blisters were "extremely painful," "debilitating" and "awful to play with."
"When you can't grip the racket hard enough, you're in big trouble," one journalist stressed.
It looked like Raducanu might run away with the first set when she led 3-0, but she's dropped one of the breaks.Having an MTO now for blisters. Ouch. pic.twitter.com/5KPKFcGeCZ— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 20, 2022
Kovinic now moves on to a third-round meeting with Romanian 14th seed Simona Halep on Saturday. Two-time Grand Slam champion Halep was a losing finalist in 2018 in Melbourne, when she missed out to Caroline Wozniacki.