Emma Raducanu crashes out of Madrid Open after first-round defeat to qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle

Emma Raducanu won just four games in a poor display (Getty Images)
Emma Raducanu won just four games in a poor display (Getty Images)

Emma Raducanu suffered a disappointing first-round exit at the Madrid Open after she was comfortably beaten by qualifier Maria Lourdes Carle.

The 21-year-old had arrived at the tournament in upbeat mood, having reached the quarter-finals in Stuttgart a week ago to back up her strong performances in leading Great Britain to victory over France in the Billie Jean King Cup.

But there was little sign of those clay-court positives for Raducanu here, as the Briton was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Carle in the opening round.

Raducanu had been drawn to face Karolina Pliskova, but the former world number one withdrew due to injury and it was instead Carle on the other side of the net, after the Argentine came through two qualifying rounds.

Carle raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set and Raducanu was unable to ever really get into the match, broken six times on an afternoon to forget.

Raducanu blamed the defeat, in which she made 34 unforced errors to her opponent’s eight, on feeling “exhausted”.

“I think I’m going to just take a few days off and rest a little bit because I’ve been going nonstop for the last month,” Raducanu said.

“I’m going to just recharge a little bit. I think from the performance today it was very clear that mentally and emotionally I was exhausted. I was trying to push through and I was just unable to today. I guess the sport is just pretty brutal.”

Raducanu beat Caroline Garcia and Diane Parry in the Billie Jean King Cup earlier this month, and followed it up days later with victories over Angelique Kerber and Linda Noskova in Stuttgart, before losing to world number one Iga Swiatek.

Her Billie Jean King Cup captain Anne Keothavong was on commentary for the defeat to Carle and criticised Raducanu’s commitment.

“Those last few points, that’s just not good enough,” she said. “That’s poor. You can’t emotionally check out now.”

“She touched on the fact, ‘Yes, I’m tired,’” Keothavong cotninued after the match.

“She acknowledged that in her interview yesterday, but now when I look back, do you talk yourself into more tiredness? On one hand it’s good to acknowledge it but on the other hand, if you’re going to go out there on the match court, you’ve got to be prepared to leave it all out there. That willingness just didn’t seem evident today.”

Harriet Dart followed Raducanu in being knocked out of Madrid in the first round, as Cristina Bucsa beat the Briton 6-4 6-4.

Dart, who won two qualifying matches to reach the main draw, led the second set 4-0 and appeared to be on track to level the match, but lost six games in a row to fall to a straight-sets defeat.

Jack Draper lifted the mood for the Brits later on Wednesday, battling to a 6-3 3-6 7-5 over Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in just over two hours.