Emma Raducanu can’t help but laugh as she’s walloped in first match of 2022

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Emma Raducanu laughed in relief after winning her only game of the match to avoid a whitewash defeat against Elena Rybakina during her disappointing Sydney International exit.

The 19-year-old sensation was looking to ease into the 2022 season, but struggled from the off as she went up against the big-hitting 22-year-old representing Kazakhstan.

Having lost 6-0 in the opening set, US Open champion Raducanu managed to stop the rot to make it 1-3 in the second, before Rybakina pushed on to reach the round of 16.

Fans in the crowd would've noticed that the celebration of the 2021 BBC Sports Personality of the Year was far more vigorous than might normally have been the case when the game still looked so bleak.

Pumping her fist, laughing and smiling to her supporters, Raducanu explained after the contest that losing without winning a single game was simply not an option.

He said: "I simply wasn’t going to lose love and love. So that was my motivation."

Adding: "Yeah, I was just fighting. I mean, at the end of the day I just want to keep putting myself out there.

"Even if I keep getting knocked down and it’s just about getting back up and basically just falling in front. You’re one step better. You learn more."

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Despite her exit, the Canada-born star is feeling positive about her return to the court ahead of the Australian Open – having missed 21 days of training after a positive Covid-19 test in December.

She said: "It’s tough but it’s good because I’m very proud and happy that I put myself out there.

"I could have easily said it’s too soon and just play next week, but I wanted to really test where I’m at and obviously give myself some competitive points and matches.

"I think this will help in putting me in a better place for next week."

Raducanu burst onto the scene at Wimbledon last year where she beat Vitalia Diatchenko, Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea before withdrawing during her clash against Ajla Tomljanovic.

After taking a break, Raducanu entered her second Grand Slam tournament as a qualifier, didn't drop a set through the entire tournament, and won her first major against all the odds.

  • Tennis
  • Emma Raducanu

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