Kovinic became the first player representing Montenegro to reach the third round of a grand slam as she beat Raducanu 4-6, 6-4, 3-6.
Emma Raducanu exited the 2022 Australian Open after losing to unseeded Danka Kovinic in the second round match on Thursday. The 17th seed who rose to fame by winning last year’s US Open as a qualifier without losing a set, lost 4-6, 6-4, 3-6 against the World No.98. The 19-year-old Brit appeared to struggle with a blister on her hand throughout the match and required treatment on several occasions from the court doctor. Kovinic dug in and took full advantage of the situation to clinch the first set.
?? @DankaKovinic upsets ?? Emma Raducanu in the second round.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2022
Kovinic made it five games in a row to lead 5-3 and, although Raducanu broke serve in the next game, the Montenegrin took the opening set. It was an impressive start for Kovinic, who had never made it past the second round of a grand slam in 17 singles and doubles main draw appearances.
Raducanu received further treatment on her hand during the interval and came out in the second set looking more like the player who had surprised the tennis world by winning at the Flushing Meadows.
The teenager made life uncomfortable for her opponent with her forehand and Kovinic dropped serve early. But the World No.98 looked like she got a grip on proceedings when she broke back for 4-4. The Brit who was giving a great fight despite going through a lot of pain, broke again and managed to serve out the set.
The opening game of the decider was a crucial moment and Raducanu agonisingly missed a cross-court forehand that would have given an early break. Meanwhile Kovinic showed remarkable composure to eventually hold serve with an inch-perfect smash.
Raducanu tried to find a way back but it was Kovinic who got the better and became the first player representing Montenegro to reach the third round of a grand slam.
“I did discover elements of my game I didn’t know I had before, and I can use that going forward,” said Raducanu.
“And also I just know that I’ve got that fight in me. Even if I have, like, one shot, I know that I can pull myself out of deep situations. Because I’m still young, I feel like I can learn a backhand, I can learn some tactics, but it’s quite hard to learn or teach someone that fight and grittiness to hang in there when things are pretty much all against you. So I’m quite proud of that.”