2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu's comeback has been temporarily stymied by World No. 94 Chinese play Wang Yafan. Raducancu, 21, and Wang, 30, battled for three close sets with Wang getting the win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.
Fans should be encouraged by Raducanu's performance. After three surgeries last year, she returned to the WTA Tour this month. She possesses the fitness and has showed a few new shots including an imposing drop shot in the matches she played.
Lack of match play after such a long layoff tends to trip up players, and Raducanu has not been alone in this area. She required medical treatment during the match to take her blood pressure and wrap her head with a towel in the unseasonably blustery weather conditions. Raducanu is one of several January comeback kids who have struggled in the early stages of their comebacks. Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber lost early in Melbourne. Amanda Anisimova and Paula Badosa will play each other today, and one of them will be sent home just weeks into their return to the WTA Tour.
What's next for Emma Raducanu?
Raducanu has committed to play in the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open in early February. It is the second year of the tournament, and defending champion Belinda Bencic is on maternity leave so a new champion will be crowned.
In addition to Raducanu, Ons Jabeur, and Beatriz Haddad Maia plan to play in the tournament. Jabeur also lost early in the Australian Open to Mirra Andreeva so both she and Raducanu will be rested and ready to play.
Fans want Raducanu to get back into form because she is an exciting, charismatic young player who makes the WTA Tour even more interesting in the matches she participates in. Staying healthy mentally and physically should be her top priority so she can have longevity in the sport.