The unlikely tennis fairytale that was Emma Raducanu’s march to the U.S. Open title last year came to an end on Tuesday when she was defeated by Frenchwoman Alize Cornet in the first round, 6-3, 6-3.
Since Germany’s Angelique Kerber in 2017, the 11th-seeded British player became the only reigning US Open champion to lose in the opening round.
When Raducanu won 10 matches in New York without dropping a set, she made history by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. This feat launched her career into the stratosphere and made her one of the most recognisable athletes on the planet.
At Flushing Meadows, it was the first set grabbed from Raducanu, albeit it wasn’t the last.
When Raducanu requested the trainer between sets to treat blisters on her right hand, the task at hand became a little more difficult.
However, the British player responded with a break of her own and a second to take the lead 3-1.
Before Cornet changed gears and won the next five games to secure the victory, Raducanu appeared to be headed for a decisive third set with the Louis Armstrong court crowd on his side.