US OPEN

Emma Raducanu didn’t lose a set last year, she won’t win one this year. Defending champion at Flushing Meadows, the 19-year-old Briton lost as soon as she entered the fray on Tuesday against the Frenchwoman Alizé Cornet, in two sets (6-3, 6-3) and 1h40 of play on the court Louis amstrong. Quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, faller of Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon, the Habs confirms for her part that she is living the best season of her career, at 32 years old. She will face Czech Katerina Siniakova in the second round.

Emma Raducanu became, a year ago, the first qualifier in history to win a Grand Slam in the Open era. This Tuesday, she joined another very closed club, but much less envied: that of the supporters of the US Open to leave in the first round. They are now three, with Svetlana Kuznetsova (2005) and Angelique Kerber (2017). The 11th player in the world took the water against the 40th, 13 years her senior. Is it a surprise? Not really.

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At the time of the draw, it was tempting to wonder which of the two players he was more embarrassing for. And we quickly understood that the Briton, who has not won three matches in a row since her title in the American Grand Slam, would be the most threatened. Because opposite, Cornet has also been in the continuity of her season, much more positive in this case. The one who is playing her 63rd Major in a row has taken the upper hand over Louis Armstrong.

An iron defense for a crazy point: Pure Cornet!

Cornet varied perfectly

Once the tension at the start of the match was evacuated, the two players delivered a very pleasant match, and far from being unbalanced. Raducanu didn’t do everything wrong, Cornet wasn’t on cloud nine. But the Frenchwoman managed the key moments better – like this superbly won rally just before concluding the first set – and relied on patterns that worked throughout the meeting each time her opponent seemed to gain momentum.

In addition to her usual ability to bring everything back, and to break the rhythm with domed balls that hurt the Briton, the Frenchwoman delighted the public with several drop shots and very well hit lobs. She also, and above all, perfectly knew how to put pressure on her opponent by her climbs to the net, which almost always paid off (14 points won out of 16 climbs). Enough to erase an unusual waste of service, symbolized by his nine double faults including three in a row at the start of the second set which, for a short time, seemed to mark a turning point in this match.

But nay. Cornet has exteriorized her frustration several times, by voice… or material, but it is she who has remained the most solid mentally. A mind that should paradoxically be better for Raducanu now. The little prodigy will come down to around 80th place in the world. And that is perhaps the best thing that could have happened to him.

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US OPEN – Women’s singles – 1st round – Alizé Cornet eliminates defending champion Emma Raducanu