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Other SportsWimbledon: Raducanu beaten by qualifier in last-16

Wimbledon: Raducanu beaten by qualifier in last-16

Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon ended in ignominious fashion as she was dumped out in straight sets by New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun.

The last Brit in either the men’s or women’s singles bowed out the day after she withdrew from the Mixed Doubles due to wrist stiffness, leading to Andy Murray’s Wimbledon career ending earlier than planned.

The left-handed Sun, ranked 123 in the world, proved a tricky proposition with a big serve and aggressive mindset which had already seen her beat China’s eighth-seed Zheng Qinwen in her first round tie.

The first Kiwi woman to make the fourth round at Wimbledon in the Open era will now face Croatia’s Donna Vekic, another first-time quarter-finalist, who beat beat Paula Badosa in three sets.

Script flipped for Raducanu

Raducanu – ranked 135 after an injury plagued 2023 which saw her have surgery on both wrists – won the US Open as a qualifier in 2021 but saw the script flipped at the All-England Club.

Sun raced into a dream 3-0 lead with a double break in the first set, with unforced errors from Raducanu not helping her cause, and it was only a Sun double-fault on break point got Raducanu on the board.

Raducanu thought she had held serve with an ace to go to 4-3 but hadn’t heard the beep for a let and had to return to court only to then be broken again.

Sun wrapped up the opening set 6-2 after a failed Raducanu challenge for a passing shot down the line which was called out – the first set the Brit had lost in SW19 this year.

Sun continued to play positively and attack the net at every opportunity but Raducanu managed to hold her serve in game one before Sun missed a volley at the net for a break in game three.

Sun saved two break points in game four as the lengthy rallies began to take their toll on the players and Raducanu saved a break point in the seventh game with a series of powerful shots to the baseline on her way to another hold and 4-3 lead.

She badly mishit a forehand long at 15-30 in the next game and Sun went on to hold but Raducanu held to 15 in the next game with Sun guilty of two enforced errors as the tension grew.

Raducanu held her nerve to go 6-5 ahead and then earned a set point as Sun missed a simple smash, but another powerful forehand from the lefty took it to deuce.

A Raducanu forehand missile up the line gave her another chance and Sun went long to see the game tied at one set all – her 22nd unforced error of the second set.

Raducanu slipped over at 15-30 down in the opening game, which required attention from the trainer.

She returned to the match with an ace but Sun rallied to break in the first game and then produced some powerful ground strokes to make it 2-0.

Raducanu dug deep to make it 4-2 but a blistering return of serve from Sun followed by a double-fault made it a double break and 5-2, which paved the way for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win.

Centre Court debutant Sun told the crowd after her win: “It was a great match, Emma really dug deep. I had to fight tooth and nail against her. I am incredibly… I don’t even have the words.

“I am super happy to be able to play on this court – it’s such an amazing experience for me.

“Just watching Federer coming towards the net growing up, I watched Steffi Graf v Navratilova on YouTube. It was amazing to watch.”

Alex Hoad
Alex Hoad
Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.
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