Emma Raducanu’s reign as US Open champion is OVER as Brit’s title defense ends in the first round following a straight-sets defeat by world No. 40 Alize Cornet under the lights in New York
- Defending champion Emma Raducanu lost 6-3, 6-3 to Alize Cornet on Tuesday
- The British teenager crashed out in a straight set defeat in the opening round
- Raducanu managed to break the French player four times throughout the match
- But the veteran ultimately overpowered the 19-year-old in a deserved triumph
Emma Raducanu’s reign as US Open champion is over and she will abruptly return to the ranks after a first round defeat to French veteran Alize Cornet.
On a windswept night in New York the Kent teenager could not replicate the extraordinary events of twelve months ago and ceded the trophy at the first time of asking.
Cornet won 6-3 6-3 in 102 minutes and although there was plenty of resistance, it was not backed up by sufficient consistency in tricky conditions.
Emma Raducanu’s reign as US Open champion is over as she was beaten Tuesday night
French veteran Alize Cornet beat the defending US Open champion in straight sets
There was plenty of resistance from the Brit but it was not backed up by sufficient consistency
The versatile, unpredictable game of the talented veteran proved too much with Raducanu making 31 unforced errors in a match that was full of them. She could not find her serve either, and joined the many illustrious names who have fallen to Cornet over her long career.
Raducanu was perhaps hindered by the resurgence of blisters on her finger, but it might not be a bad thing for her ranking to now settle at a level which will require rebuilding.
Certainly the pressures will be less as she goes down to around number 80 after this, more than 2000 points having dropped off her computer tally.
The 19-year-old was perhaps hindered by the resurgence of blisters on her finger
Raducanu had been waiting nearly 50 weeks for this moment and was obliged to hang on for a further half hour due to an overrun to the day session on Louis Armstrong Stadium.
She might have expected an immediate return to Arthur Ashe but had to settle for the secondary arena on an evening which had strong winds with a hint of rain in the air.
Cornet was one of the more difficult draws the British player could have had, ranked just outside the seedings at number 40 and in strong form this summer. Her run of playing 63 consecutive Majors began when Raducanu was aged only four.
The French World No. 40 was one of the more difficult draws the British player could have had
The defending champion received a roaring ovation when walking onto the court with tape on her fingers immediately noticeable. From the outset it was clear how the gusts were going to be a major factor.
With the wind coming from behind, Cornet threw in two double faults at the end playing towards the Mets stadium and Raducanu went a break up.
That end, which had ex-Wimbledon champion Virginia Wade down near the front, was difficult to hold from and Raducanu was immediately broken back.
Raducanu took to Louis Armstrong a roaring ovation but tape on her fingers was noticeable
Raducanu went a break up in the opening set but was immediately broken back by Cornet
There were five breaks in all in the first set, although both players did a good job at controlling the ball. Cornet’s excellent touch saw her hit three exquisite lobs to frustrate the British number one when she was in a winning position.
Raducanu broke back at 4-2 but then struggled to control the ball to fall behind again, and Cornet just about closed it out to become the first player to take a set off the Kent teenager at Flushing Meadows.
The end of the set prompted a familiar call from Raducanu from the physio to tend to her blisters, which also reared up nearly nine months ago in Australia.
The French player demonstrated exquisite play at the net with a series of lob shots
After the hiatus she was broken straightaway, but then levelled when Cornet appeared to be partially distracted by the roof closing overhead with raindrops starting to fall.
Three games went the teenager’s way to reach 3-1 as the double faults ratcheted up from the French player, but the kind of Raducanu Roll seen a year ago did not materialise.
There is still much work to be done before becoming the finished article, and the process could be easier living more in the shadows.
Relive all the action from Emma Raducanu’s opening-round defeat to Alize Cornet at the the US Open with Sportsmail’s live blog from ISABEL BALDWIN.