Emma Raducanu's brutally honest statement on her 'struggles' in rough Doha loss

Raducanu got ousted by Anhelina Kalinina in her Doha opener.

by Dzevad Mesic
Emma Raducanu's brutally honest statement on her 'struggles' in rough Doha loss
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Emma Raducanu didn't hold back when revealing true feelings about her performance against Anhelina Kalinina as the Briton admitted that there was not an aspect of the game in which she didn't struggle. 

Raducanu, who was awarded a main draw wildcard into the Qatar Open in Doha, saw her campaign in the first WTA 1000 event of the season finish very early after suffering a 0-6 6-7 (6) loss to world No. 30 Anhelina Kalinina. Before the match, the belief was that it was a favorable matchup for Raducanu, considering how she was playing in her first three tournaments and also that Kalinina came to Doha with a 1-4 record on the season. 

But Raducanu basically didn't show up in the first set as she dropped her serve three times without having a single game point during the entire opener. Since Raducanu also didn't have any break points, she ended up getting bageled in the opener. 

After also getting broken in the first game of the second set, Raducanu finally got on the board after breaking back Kalinina in the following game. Later in the set, Raducanu saved four break points in the seventh game but got broken again in the 11th game as Kalinina took a 6-5 lead.

Facing two match points on Kalinina's serve, Raducanu impressively managed to save both match points and force a tie-break, in which she missed out on a set point before the Ukrainian converted her third match point.

"I think I was struggling with everything, serve, return, forehand, backhand," Raducanu told Sky Sports.

"To be honest I felt like I never really got into it. I think it was a combination of things. It's like my first day match I think I've played in a year, so that's different.

"Honestly, I think I need to practice training outside a bit more because it's very different and also the light, conditions, shadows - it's really hard to kind of see the ball, I found towards the end. When the tennis isn't there, you have to at least try to fight and I think I did that in the second set."

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Raducanu on her next plans after a disappointing Doha loss

After being granted a main draw wildcard into a WTA 500 event in Abu Dhabi, Raducanu admitted she would like to also play in other tournaments during the Middle East swing. Last week, Raducanu kicked off her Middle East swing in Abu Dhabi, where she beat Marie Bouzkova before losing to Ons Jabeur. 

Then over the weekend, it was announced that Raducanu was granted a main draw wildcard into Doha - where she ultimately ended up losing very early. Next week, a WTA 1000 event in Dubai but Raducanu confirmed to Sky Sports that she does not plan on playing there. Instead, Raducanu plans to return home - hit the practice court - and assess her tournament scheduling.

“I think that I need to kind of schedule my tournaments a bit better as well as just trying to get some more matches under my belt,” Raducanu said.

“I think that I’m just going to go home and practice and we’ll see where it goes from there.”

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Laura Robson on what went wrong for Raducanu

During the first set - in which Raducanu got destroyed by Kalinina - the 21-year-old won a total of 10 points and had 15 unforced errors in a set that finished after just 22 minutes. In the second set, Raducanu drastically improved her level but unforced errors continued as the 2021 US Open made 33 more unforced errors before crashing out Doha in straight sets.

Raducanu also struggled heavily on her serve - winning just 55 percent of her first serve points, 33 percent of her second serve points and she also allowed 15 break points, of which Kalinina converted five. Raducanu did have 29 winners - 12 more than Kalinina - and converted 2-of-2 of her break points but it just wasn't enough as the Ukrainian still finished the match with 19 more points won than the Briton. 

Robson, a former British tennis star, highlighted Raducanu's unforced errors as one of the main reasons behind the 21-year-old's loss to Kalinina. 

"Forty-eight unforced errors - that's where you start when you debrief the match," Robson said.

"How do you cut the number down in future matches? Yes, she did bring the number down as the match went on but it was almost a bit too late because Kalinina had a bit too much confidence in her backhand as the match went on.

"That was really the story. As soon as Kalinina was able to rip the backhand cross-court, Emma wasn't able to get enough width on her forehand and that affects the depth."

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Last year, both Indian Wells and Miami both gave Raducanu a main draw wildcard. For this year's Sunshine Double, Raducanu again needs wildcards and she will likely get ones if she requests them. It will be interesting to see if Raducanu to play some lower-level tournaments or returns to action in March when the time comes for WTA 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

Emma Raducanu Anhelina Kalinina