Emma Raducanu loses her first match since her US Open triumph in flat defeat in California
US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells
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EMMA RADUCANU suffered a shock defeat in her first match since the US Open as she crashed out of the BNP Paribas Open to the world No.100. Her fearless hitting in New York was replaced by a slew of errors across the USA in the Californian desert as she lost 6-2 6-4 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.
The British No.1 struggled to cope with a strong breeze and appeared to be walking gingerly as her crazily unpredictable year took another turn.
The first qualifier to ever win a Major has yet to win a match at at regular WTA Tour event – or even a set – in three tournaments.
And the flat defeat will increase the pressure to appoint a full-time coach after splitting with Nigel Sears after Wimbledon and then Andrew Richardson following her Flushing Meadows miracle.
The US Open champion walked out to a rockstar reception in Stadium 1 in the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the 6pm start local time.
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Raducanu started superbly by holding to love in her opening service game and winning the first six points.
But former world No.30 Sasnovich used her experience to mix up the play with slices and drop shots to break Raducanu’s rhythm on the slow hardcourt.
The British No.1 was broken in the third game after a forehand error and dropped her serve again to fall 2-5 down after sending another forehand sailing wide.
She saved a first set point with backhand drive volley but Sasnovich took the second with a cunning lob after the No.17 seed hit a short ball straight at her to win the set in only 31 minutes.
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It was the first set she had lost since a WTA 125 event in August.
Struggling with her second serve, she won only four out of 11 points after missing her first serve.
Raducanu took a break between sets but could not stop Sasnovich taking her fourth break point in the first game of the second set.
The US Open champion then looked in danger of losing the match in under an hour before breaking straight back to huge cheers from the subdued crowd.
Raducanu looked like she had finally found her range and her rhythm to secure a second break to lead 4-2 before her form suffered another dip.
She was immediately broken twice more and a backhand return error saw the match end in 85 minutes.
Raducanu won only five out of 21 points on second serve.
Sasnovich will now play Simona Halep in the third round after the former world No.1 won her first match since her wedding last month 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk.
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