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Emma Raducanu set for career-best world ranking despite Australian Open exit

The Independent
The Independent
 2022-01-25

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Emma Raducanu is set to climb to a career-high 13th in the WTA rankings despite a second-round exit at the Australian Open .

Raducanu, hampered by a blister on her right hand, was surprisingly beaten by Montenegrin qualifier Danka Kovinic to end her debut appearance in Melbourne.

However the ranking points earned by Raducanu should allow her to be boosted beyond her current ranking of 18th in the world when the WTA rankings are refreshed on Monday at the conclusion of the tournament.

Several players ahead of her, including defending champion Naomi Osaka, will lose ranking points carried over from last year’s edition of the Australian Open after their own early exits in this year’s competition, and Raducanu is set to slot in as the new world number thirteen.

Her high ranking is powered by the remarkable triumph on debut at the US Open , which followed an impressive fourth-round performance at Wimbledon.

The 19-year-old should climb further — Raducanu does not have any ranking points to defend in the first half of the season having not competed at WTA Tour level during the early months of 2021, so will only improve her total.

Raducanu has indicated that she may now spend some time building her fitness up after her preparations for the Australian Open were disrupted by a period in isolation after a positive Covid test, but the teenager knows that she must play more tournaments to improve her chances at the year’s next Grand Slam, the French Open in May.

“Playing loads of matches is definitely different,” Raducanu explained after defeat to Kovinic. “It’s something that you can’t really replicate in practice, but also because of the lack of practice I have been doing, I can’t really tell because it’s my first real test with it.

“I feel like I’m going to for sure get fit just playing tournaments week in, week out. Like I was just on court for two hours and 40 minutes [against Kovinic], so that’s got to do something for my fitness. But I really feel like I need to dedicate some time to it, as well.

“I know that after this I’ve got a few weeks where I want to try and do as much of catchup as possible in terms of like fitness and my pre-season, because I missed it actually in December.

“So I’ll try and do a bit of work there. There is not much time, but there are some tournaments in Mexico or the Middle East, and it’s just a matter of that before Indian Wells.”

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