Emma Raducanu clears air on what exactly went wrong in brutal loss to Daria Kasatkina

Kasatkina dropped just four games en route to ousting Raducanu in Eastbourne.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Emma Raducanu clears air on what exactly went wrong in brutal loss to Daria Kasatkina
© Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst

Emma Raducanu dismissed claims that she was tired or anything like that during a brutal Eastbourne quarterfinal defeat, saying the loss came more because of the tricky conditions. 

On Wednesday, Raducanu survived a real marathon and thriller after outlasting No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula 4-6 7-6 (6) 7-5 in nearly three hours of play. After securing her first-ever top-10 win, Raducanu hit the court again on Thursday for her quarterfinal match. But against sixth-seeded Kasatkina, Raducanu was far away from her best game and making a lot of mistakes, which led to some believing that she was tired and exhausted from the Pegula match. 

But after the heavy defeat, Raducanu said the wind was causing her difficulties and made it hard for her to play her game. 

"Yeah, I wasn't tired at all. I was feeling really good. I think I just dealt with the circumstances badly. Yeah, was very inflexible in my approach. Like, that's my honest reflection of the match. But physically I'm in a really good spot, and yeah, I could easily go and train now or train tomorrow. Like, I'm fine," Raducanu said.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst
 

Raducanu: One of the worst conditions I played in...

In Raducanu's opening two matches against Sloane Stephens and Pegula, the weather was nice and that allowed the 21-year-old to start her debut with back-to-back wins. Against Kasatkina, the weather wasn't that nice and Raducanu experienced for the first time how it really feels to play in the windy Eastbourne conditions.

And the 21-year-old Biton kept it honest after the match, describing the Kasatkina match as one of "the worst conditions" she played in.

"No, I haven't played in Eastbourne (before). There was one day in practice at Indian Wells where it was similar, but it wasn't in the match. So it didn't really matter as much. But I'd say it was up there with, like, the worst I have played in, especially on the tour. Maybe back in the junior days I played in a similar level of wind, but very rarely and also a different level of opposition," Raducanu said.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst
 

Raducanu on how she wanted to play and how it ended

Going into the match, Raducanu was hoping to play her usual style of tennis which is being aggressive and trying to go for it. But when the match started, the 2021 US Open champion realized that playing clean tennis would not be possible. 

When making that clear and also reflecting on the loss, Raducanu admitted that Kasatkina's experience probably played a big part in the outcome of the match since the 27-year-old Russian knew better how to play and react in those windy conditions.

"Yeah, I think, like, my plan was, 1 guess, to play my kind of identity of tennis, which is aggressive, which is taking the ball early, and I play pretty clean tennis, I would say, which is why yesterday, you know, it was a much better level of tennis, because yeah, conditions suited it better. It was just more clean ball-striking," Raducanu explained.

"Today it was complete opposite. It was more about, you know, the scrappy little shots that are dying, the high heavy, the variation, and especially the slower you actually hit the ball today, the more difficult it was to deal with, because it would just hold in the air and move and cut with all the spin.

"I think Daria is very experienced and just did that to me, and I didn't want to do it back, basically, and I think that if I was more experienced or, like, you know, had practiced actually playing like that in practice, then maybe I could have implemented, like, a similar thing. It was just a tough matchup for the day."

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu© Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst
 

After starting her grass season by reaching the Nottingham semifinal, Raducanu also did solid in Eastbourne and now she heads to Wimbledon in good spirits and confident in her game. But results aside, there was one thing that made the 21-year-old Briton more happy than anything - she didn't experience any injuries or physical setbacks during Nottingham or Eastbourne. 

"I think the biggest win for me is I was able to play three matches back to back. Today physically I actually felt fine. It wasn't to do with anything being in pain and three high-level matches," Raducanu added.

Raducanu has had nice preparation for Wimbledon and she will now certainly enter The Championships hoping to conclude her grass season with another strong result.

On Friday, Raducanu drew 22nd-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Wimbledon first round.

Emma Raducanu Daria Kasatkina
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