Emma Raducanu’s surprise Indian Wells defeat explained – ‘She didn’t have enough fire’

US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells

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Emma Raducanu was unable to repeat her US Open heroics when she returned to court at the BNP Paribas Open. The 18-year-old arrived as the 17th seed in Indian Wells, receiving a first-round bye, but fell to world No 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets.

Raducanu made an unsuccessful return to competiton as she took to the court for her highly-anticipated first match since making history at the US Open.

The 18-year-old became the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title when she came through ten matches without dropping a set en route to the trophy in Flushing Meadows last month.

The new world No 21 headlined a blockbuster Friday night session in Indian Wells, alongside Andy Murray, but struggled with the slow conditions in the Californian desert.

Raducanu started strong by holding to love and winning the first six points of the match but the world No 100 stormed back to take the first set 6-2, leaving the recent US Open champion looking flat.

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She was able to turn things around and gain some momentum in the second set, going 4-2 up with a break, but the Belarusian won the next four games on the bounce to seal a 6-2 6-4 victory over tennis’ newest star.

Raducanu’s Billie Jean King Cup captain has now given her verdict on why the young Brit was unable to win her first match since the US Open.

“There are a number of combinations,” Anne Keothavong, Britain’s team captain, said while speaking on Amazon Prime.

“You can put it down to expectations, you can put it down to three weeks, different tournament, different circumstances, different conditions, it was never going to be easy and Sasnovich made life tough for Emma.”

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Keothavong, a former British No 1, also said she thought the teenager was unable to keep her lead in the second set as she didn’t have enough “fire” during the match.

“She got into a good position, she led 4-2 in the second set but she played a terrible service game to allow Sasnovich make into it and never quite get a foothold into it and it was just error after error after error, the body language and the shoulders were slumped, not enough fire in Emma.”

Raducanu’s BJK Cup captain also offered her some words of advice for what to do following her surprise early loss in Indian Wells.

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