‘Big reality check’: Fans row after Raducanu loses to world no.100 in first match after US Open triumph – with Moscow calling next

Shock US Open winner Emma Raducanu’s return to court didn’t go as planned as the teenager lost in straight sets to Belarusian world number 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich at Indian Wells.

Raducanu, 18, was catapulted to fame when she became the first qualifier ever to win a major title when she captured the women’s crown in New York last month.

The Canadian-born starlet – who has a Chinese mother and Romanian father but has lived in the UK since the age of two – has been tipped for stellar sporting and financial success given her winsome smile and cross-cultural attraction.

But Raducanu’s ascent suffered a setback in the short-term least as she was downed 6-2, 6-4 in the Californian desert on Friday night against Sasnovich in their second-round match, with the Brit having been handed a bye in the prior round.

Raducanu dropped the first set in half an hour, and while she seemed on course to level up at 4-2 ahead in the second, the the 27-year-old Belarusian battled back to close out the match.

Following her defeat under the lights, Raducanu claimed the loss was part of her learning curve in what was only her fifth appearance at a WTA tour-level event.

“Playing at night is always going to be different,” Raducanu said.

“I haven't had much experience with night matches. I've only played one before on Ashe [at the US Open]." 

“I’m still very, very new to the tour. I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things.

“I’m kind of glad that what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I’ll just have more experienced banked.”

As the first British woman to win a major singles title in 44 years, Raducanu was feted in the UK after her triumph at Flushing Meadows, gracing fashion magazine covers and attending numerous glitzy events.

The teen hinted she was still coming to terms with the spotlight after she fell to Sasnovich – a former world top 30 player and someone with significantly more experience on tour.

“I think it’s going to take me time to adjust really to what's going on," Raducanu said.

“I’m still so new to everything. The experiences that I’m going through right now, even though I might not feel 100% amazing right now, I know they’re for the greater good. For the bigger picture, I’ll be thanking this moment.

“That’s the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed.

“I mean, I’m 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack.”

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Emma Raducanu spoke about mental strength after wowing fans in Mandarin. © Getty Images via AFP / US Open Weibo
‘Mental strength’: Teen tennis phenom Raducanu says she was shaped by ‘tough’ parents – after charming fans in Mandarin (VIDEO)

Online meanwhile, tennis fans rowed over the significance of the defeat, with some claiming the Raducanu bubble had already burst and others arguing that the youngster would inevitably need time to develop given her meteoric rise. 

"Big big reality check. Not for Emma Raducanu, bad days happens, but for all the overhyping media and some of her fans," read one tweet.

"All those accounts that changed their entire layout to an Emma Raducanu [fan] account changing back to their old layout after losing to world number 100," said another, adding a meme.

"Raducanu won the first 6 points of the match, but eventually got worn down by a match-tough, very experienced opponent," said the popular Tennis Podcast Twitter account in defense of the young star.

"Not a big surprise, so let’s all be sensible about it."

"Let’s let the girl grow on her own pace please," implored another fan. 

Raducanu dispensed with the services of coach Andrew Richardson after he guided her to success at the US Open, saying she needed someone with more experience at the top level of the tour.

The youngster, who is now ranked 22 in the world, is still searching for a permanent appointment but was seen with British LTA coach Jeremy Bates at Indian Wells as a temporary placement.

Raducanu is next scheduled to appear on court at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, which runs from October 18 to 24, and is where she could pick up a first win since her US Open final win against fellow teen Leylah Fernandez.  

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Britain's Emma Raducanu celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women's final match against Canada's Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 11, 2021. © AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY
The politicisation of Emma Raducanu’s US Open victory was inevitable in today’s culture-war-obsessed world

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