British teen sensation Emma Raducanu’s love-affair with the United States has taken a hit after she suffered a shock third round loss to Petra Martic at Indian Wells.
The 19-year-old, who stormed to an unlikely US Open title as a qualifier at Flushing Meadows last year, looked to be headed into the next round after serving for the match at 5-4 in the third.
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However, the 13th seed couldn’t muster a match point in a shocking late collapse over the next three games.
A string of forehand errors spelled the end of her challenge in a final loss of serve as Raducanu crashed out 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-5 against the World No.79.
It’s just the latest setback for Raducanu, who was ousted in the second round of the Australian Open in January.
She was the top seed at Guadalajara last month when a hip injury forced her to retire from her first-round match.
In seven tournaments since her US Open triumph, her best run was into the quarter-finals of the Transylvanian Open in October.
Plenty of expectation has been heaped on Raducanu’s young shoulders since her historic US Open title in 2021, with many seemingly overlooking the fact that the 19-year-old is very much still a work in progress.
Following the defeat against Martic, the teen star found herself at the center of some ugly backlash on social media.
However, many fans were quick to defend the 19-year-old, who know doubt learned a brutal lesson about how quickly a match can turn at the highest level.
For the 79th ranked Martic, the victory was her first over a top-20 player in more than two years.
“This victory means so much to me,” Martic said.
“I really wanted it so bad. I’m just happy I stayed calm when I was not playing so good. Because I think it was up and down for both sides,” added Martic, who next faces 28th-seeded Liudmila Samsonova, a 6-4, 6-7 (7/4) winner over Danka Kovinic.
Kovinic had taken down seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the second round, but couldn’t engineer another upset in the face of Samsonova’s big game.
Andy Murray sent packing at Indian Wells
In other early matches, men’s seventh seed Andrey Rublev won his second-round opener against Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-5, 6-4.
Rublev, on the rise after titles in Marseille and Dubai this year, next faces either Frances Tiafoe or Brandon Nakashima.
Rublev got off to a slow start, falling 4-2 down before breaking 51st-ranked Koepfer twice to pocket the first set.
Now on a 10-match winning streak, Rublev belted 32 winners and won 11 or 15 points at the net.
The second set was just as close. After breaking for a 4-3 lead Rublev immediately surrendered his serve, but he broke Koepfer to lead 5-4 and then survived three break points to close it out with a service winner.
Alexander Bublik, the 31st seed, sent former world number one Andy Murray packing with a 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 win over the three-time Grand Slam champion.
Bublik, coming off his first career ATP title at Montpellier in February, beat Murray for the first time in three career meetings.
Murray’s run ended a round after he became the fourth active ATP player to reach 700 career match wins with a first-round victory over Taro Daniel.
Men’s second-round action on Sunday was highlighted by third-seeded German Alexander Zverev’s night match against American Tommy Paul.
But prior to that, American Coco Gauff celebrated her 18th birthday with a third-round clash with former world number one Simona Halep of Romania.
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