Emma Raducanu crashes out in Round of 16 at Abu Dhabi Open
World number six Ons Jabeur end Emma Raducanu’s run at the Abu Dhabi Open on Wednesday.
Britain’s Raducanu has been making encouraging strides on her comeback after eight months out following surgery on her wrists and ankle.
The 21-year-old briefly pushed three-time grand-slam finalist Jabeur in a close opening set.
But Tunisian Jabeur, the runner-up at Wimbledon in the previous two years, was ultimately too strong in a 6-4 6-1 victory.
Raducanu dropped serve in the first game of the match and was soon a double break down at 5-1.
But the 2021 US Open champion gradually began to remind everyone of just how cleanly she strikes a ball at her best.
She saved three set points before breaking Jabeur’s serve to trail 5-3, and then a gritty hold brought her to within one game.
However, Jabeur comprehensively held serve in the next to take the first set in 50 minutes.
The second seed converted a third break point to take the initiative at the start of the second set.
This time Raducanu, who last reached a quarter-final in September 2022, had no answer to the flurry of winners – Jabeur hit 35 in all – as she bowed out.
“It was a tough match,” said Raducanu. “Ons is a difficult opponent so credit to her, she played really well and it’s just a match that personally I need to forget about.
“She’s a great opponent, she has amazing hand skills, makes life really hard for you on the court and especially with the balls which are really heavy. Her defensive skills are great and I think that’s something I can improve on too.”
Raducanu added that she hopes to play at the Qatar Open in Doha next week.
Jabeur, 29, said in her on-court interview. “She didn’t make it easy for me, obviously.
“Emma is such an amazing player, I wish her all the best because I know she can play much better. I am a big fan of hers.
“Emma had an amazing experience at the US Open and everybody followed her. She’s had an amazing career.
“Everyone has a different story, we struggle a lot, we go through a lot of things. But a lot of amazing women play on the tour.”