MELBOURNE, Australia — Emma Raducanu bowed out of the Australian Open at the hands of No. 7 seed Coco Gauff on Wednesday, but there may be lingering concerns about Raducanu’s fitness after the British No. 1 clutched at her left side throughout the 6-4, 7-6(4) loss.
Early in the second set of the second-round matchup with 18-year-old Gauff, Raducanu began to feel at her side, wincing in pain as she struggled to maintain power in her strokeplay.
A couple of double faults, and some uncharacteristically meek first serves only added to the intrigue surrounding her condition as Gauff opened up a second set lead.
Despite appearing to be hampered by the abdominal issue, Raducanu did manage to shake off the concern to rally in the second set; from 2-4 down she clawed her way to a 5-4 lead — blasting winners with power she seemingly lacked just games earlier — before Gauff responded to take the set to a tiebreaker.
From there, a couple of unforced errors allowed Gauff a look at four match points, the third of which the American converted to secure passage into the third round.
The loss rounds out a frustrating two weeks for the Brit, who retired from her second-round match at the ASB Classic in Auckland after rolling her ankle. For a brief period after, Raducanu’s Australian Open campaign was in doubt, but she declared herself fit on the eve of the tournament.