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U.S. Open champ Emma Raducanu suffers lopsided Sydney Tennis Classic loss

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 1/11/2022 Zac Wassink, Yardbarker
Emma Raducanu © Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK Emma Raducanu

Preparations for the upcoming Australian Open are not going as planned for reigning U.S. Open champion and teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu. Raducanu tested positive for COVID-19 roughly two weeks before Christmas Day, and she's now suffered a blowout defeat in her first competitive match of 2022. 

Per Emma Thurston of Sky Sports, Raducanu fell to Elena Rybakina 0-6, 1-6 in her opening match of the Sydney Tennis Classic that took just 55 minutes to complete on Tuesday. Rybakina, the world No. 13, overwhelmed the British No. 1 who is working under new head coach Torben Beltz. 

Raducanu parted ways with former coach Andrew Richardson in September following her unexpected and historic U.S. Open triumph because she wanted to partner with somebody more experienced with the world's biggest tournaments. 

"After the match, I got a box of balls and went straight to the practice court," Raducanu explained following her swift defeat on Tuesday, according to BBC Sport. "I felt I could have done some things better and I wanted to try and fix it straight away, just leave with a better feeling about it." 

The 19-year-old added she wanted to "test" herself following her lengthy coronavirus-related break. 

"It's tough but it's good because I'm very proud and happy that I put myself out there," Raducanu noted. "I could have easily said it's too soon and just play next week, but I wanted to really give myself some competitive points and matches. I think this will help in putting me in a better place for next week." 

The draw for the Australian Open takes place Thursday, and the first round begins Monday. 

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