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Sunday, 07 July 2024 21:13

Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon after defeat in fourth-round match.

By Jonathan Jurejko.

Emma Raducanu is out of Wimbledon after being hampered by injury in the deciding set of her fourth-round match against New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun.

The British wildcard, 21, lost 6-2 5-7 6-2 in a dramatic contest on Centre Court.

Raducanu had levelled the match and regained some confidence after a stunning performance from an inspired Sun.

Then Raducanu slipped on the baseline in the first game of the third set.

The 2021 US Open champion stayed down on the grass and shook her head before getting back to her feet.

The game was stopped at 15-30 on Raducanu's serve and she received treatment - on her leg and back - while laid out on the court.

A roar of encouragement greeted Raducanu when it became clear she would carry on.

However, she gingerly lost serve immediately and could not recover the break.

Her movement during points improved, despite clasping her back between games, but was broken again for 5-2 and could not take either of two break points before Sun served out on her second match point.

It means the world number 135 missed out on reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time in her career, while there are no British players left in the singles draws at the All England Club.

Raducanu defeat deflates Wimbledon

Optimism had been rapidly building around Raducanu after she confidently breezed through her opening three matches without dropping a set.

But a confident Sun, who had never won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam until this tournament, demonstrated the powerful game which has seen her break new ground.

The quality of her performance disrupted former world number 10 Raducanu and deflated an expectant home crowd.

Raducanu's defeat came a day after she pulled out of a planned mixed doubles appearance alongside fellow Briton Andy Murray, citing "stiffness" in her right wrist.

Even though it was a sensible precaution having needed surgery on the same wrist last year, the move led to some criticism given it denied Murray the chance to play again in his Wimbledon farewell.

Raducanu looked in good spirits when she practised earlier on Sunday. The smile has returned to her face during the British grass-court swing and a renewed sense of enjoyment has led to some of her best tennis since winning the US Open.

With that came increased expectation which was further fuelled by facing a qualifier for a place in the quarter-finals.

But, as Raducanu herself said before the contest, qualifiers are dangerous. Her prudence proved prophetic.

Sun rises again

Raducanu's achieved a fairytale when she won as a teenage qualifier in New York almost three years ago.

This time, it is Sun's dreams which are coming true.

Sun, a left-hander born in New Zealand who represented Switzerland until this year, oozed confidence like a player does when they have already won six matches in a row on the Wimbledon grass.

Flashy winners came behind a superb serve, while the confident bounce in her step allowed her to finish off 23 of 28 points at the net.

The 23-year-old was overcome by emotion after reaching the last eight in only the second Grand Slam main-draw appearance of her career.

She had never won at a major until beating Chinese eighth seed Zheng Qinwen in a first-round shock which kickstarted this stunning run.

"I had to fight tooth and nail because Emma will still run for every ball and fight until the end," she said.

"I don’t have the words right now."

Now Sun will face Croatia's Donna Vekic, ranked 37th in the world, for a place in the semi-finals.