Emma Raducanu admitted that her "intensity just dropped" during the third set of her Auckland match against Elina Svitolina and underlined that she must do better in that aspect if she wants to have a stronger chance of beating players of that caliber.
On Thursday, Raducanu got very close to upsetting No. 2 seed Svitolina and starting her comeback with a bang. Unfortunately for Raducanu, she wasn't able to close out the match in tight two sets as Svitolina claimed a 6-7 (5) 7-6 (3) 6-1 win in their Auckland round-of-16 match.
At one point, Raducanu was just four points away from beating 2023 Wimbledon semifinalist Svitolina, having led 3-1 in the second-set tie-break.
Svitolina responded by delivering in the next two points as she hit a backhand winner and a service winner to tie the tie-break to three points apiece. Then, Raducanu made a series of unforced errors and mistakes as Svitolina ended up winning six consecutive points from 1-3 down to take the second set and force a decider.
After a very rough end to the second set and failing to get the job done in straight sets, Raducanu's level dropped in a major way as Svitolina started the decider with a 5-0 lead before serving out for the match in the seventh game.
Raducanu: My level just dropped, got to do better
“My intensity just dropped and I need to learn to maintain that better for longer if I’m going to compete with these players for three sets. For two sets it was great, but you can’t win all of the matches in two sets. If you want to go toe to toe for three, the intensity needs to be higher for longer," Raducanu said.
Although it was certainly disappointing for Raducanu to lose to Svitolina, the 21-year-old Briton tried to draw positives after the match, insisting that she was "really pleased" with how she was able to compete against Svitolina for two sets.
Now, Raducanu will turn her focus to the Australian Open. This week, Raducanu learned that there would be no need to play in the Australian Open qualifying as she made the main draw following recent player withdrawal.