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Emma Raducanu: Teenager’s Wimbledon run ends as she is forced to withdraw from last 16 match after ‘difficulty breathing’

Written by on 6 July 2021

Emma Raducanu’s dream run at Wimbledon is over after she was forced to withdraw during her last 16 match against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic after suffering ‘difficulty breathing’.

Britain’s teenage tennis sensation lost the first set and was 3-0 down in the second to the world number 75 when she received medical attention courtside from the trainer and doctor.

Raducanu, an 18-year-old wildcard, had been noticeably struggling to breathe and, after consulting with them, she walked off Court One for a medical timeout.

Emma Raducanu Image: Raducanu during her fourth round match against Ajla Tomljanovic

Shortly afterwards, the chair umpire announced Raducanu could not continue with her fourth round clash to groans of disappointment from the crowd.

The teenager did not take part in a press conference but Wimbledon officials confirmed late on Monday night that the reason for Raducanu’s retirement had been “difficulty breathing”.

Tomljanovic, 28, will face fellow Australian, world number one Ashleigh Barty, in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

“I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire,” Tomljanovic said. “I am really sorry for her, I wish we could have finished it. I am wishing her all the best.

“I thought I found my groove although Emma was hurt and not at her best which kind of explains it.”

Raducanu went toe to toe with her experienced opponent in a brutal first set full of intense baseline exchanges, with the roof closed due to rain.

But after being broken in the 10th game to lose the first set 6-4 she began to look in distress as she slipped 3-0 behind in the second.

Raducanu, who is ranked 338th in the world, on Saturday became the youngest British woman to make it through to the second week at SW19 in the open era with a 6-3 7-5 win over world number 45 Sorana Cirstea in round three.

Emma Raducanu Image: The British teenager had been hoping to progress to the last eight

Following her weekend victory, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher reacted by tweeting “BIBLICAL”.

The singer has been following Raducanu’s Wimbledon journey and had urged everyone to do the same with a touch of rhyming slang.

He tweeted: “Get on the Les Dennis tday and get behind Emma Raducanu celestial talent.”

For Raducanu, Wimbledon was her first grand slam and only her second tour-level event of any sort.

As well as focusing on her tennis, the teenager, who was Britain’s last hope in the singles draw, is also awaiting the results of her A-levels.

During the pandemic, she chose not to travel abroad for lower level tournaments and did not play a professional match between February 2020 and June 2021.

Ajla Tomljanovic Image: Tomljanovic is through to the quarter-finals

Prior to her last 16 clash, she told Sky Sports that her Wimbledon journey so far had been “incredible”.

“I’m so grateful for this wildcard. Honestly, I just wanted to make the most out of it, try to show that I earned it. I’m really grateful for the All England Club’s support in taking a chance on me.

“And the way that I’m approaching my matches is each time I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why not?’. Like today, I was like, ‘Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?’.

“I’m just trying to stay here as long as possible. As I said, I’m just having such a blast. Everything is so well taken care of that it’s such a pleasure to be here.”

She was born in Toronto in 2002 to a Chinese mother and Romanian father and the family moved over to England when she was two.

Despite only making her first WTA Tour main draw appearance last month at the Nottingham Open, she has had previous success in youth competitions.

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Her PE teacher at Newstead Wood School in Orpington, Kent, Sarah Eells, said it was “very emotional” watching Raducanu “achieve her dream” and that the teenager was a “role model and an inspiration” to other pupils.

“I’m so proud and it’s very emotional how we feel just seeing her achieve her dream and show her skill,” she said.

“She fully deserves it and her hard work is paying off.”

Screens were set up at the school to allow staff and students to watch her take on Tomljanovic.

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