Britain’s Emma Raducanu suffered another agonizing defeat, after being knocked out in the first round of the Stuttgart Open on Tuesday.
Jelena Ostapenko took less than an hour to thrash Raducanu 6-2, 6-1 in straight sets at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
“It’s never easy playing Emma,” the Latvian, the 2017 French Open champion, told reporters. “But I was so fearless out on court today, and was focused from the first to the last minute. Things can continue the same way,” she added.
Ostapenko, ranked No. 22 in the world, remained unbroken throughout the match, and converted all five of her break points.
“I knew against her the main thing was to step in the court,” the 25-year-old Ostapenko said. “Of course, I missed some balls but I tried to be aggressive all the time when it was possible. Just try to take the ball early, don’t give her many chances. And finally, I’m back on clay, my favorite surface.”
The 20-year-old Raducanu, who won the US Open in 2021, has been plagued by injuries over the past 18 months that have dampened her hopes of on-court success.
Raducanu suffered an ankle injury before the Australian Open earlier this year, while tonsillitis forced her to withdraw from the Austin Open in February.
Meanwhile, a recurring wrist injury, which hampered her last season, came back to bite during the Miami Open, where she exited in the first round.
Former British tennis player Laura Robson noted earlier this month that Raducanu had looked “really good” ahead of the clay court season.
“Emma’s level is there for sure,” Robson told Eurosport. “She hits the ball just as well as any of the top players on tour.
“But it’s just finding the right balance on the training side of things, on the match court and tournament schedule side of things to make it work for the body because everyone is different, everyone requires different amount of matches as well.
“I think if she’s just able to get another couple of consistent weeks under her belt, then the belief will come and you start to trust your body a bit more and you start to then not worry about some small injuries because it’s just part of being a tennis player,” added Robson, who is a former Junior Wimbledon champion and an Olympic silver medalist.
Ostapenko will take on world No. 4, Tunisian Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.
CNN’s Ben Morse contributed reporting.