Sydney, Jan 12 (MNN) Number 9 seed Elena Rybakina needed just 55 minutes to storm past Emma Raducanu 6-0, 6-1 in the first round of the Sydney Tennis Classic and continue her strong start to 2022.
Rybakina reached her eighth career final in Adelaide last week, falling to Ashleigh Barty in the title match.
The Kazakh is no stranger to racing out of the blocks at the start of the year – in her breakthrough Top 20 season of 2020, she reached four finals in her first five tournaments, including a second career title in Hobart.
US Open champion Raducanu, who tested positive for Covid-19 last month and withdrew from the Melbourne Summer Set last week due to needing more preparation time, was still competing in just her eighth WTA-level main draw.
The result is the 19-year-old Briton’s first loss to a Top 20 player in three meetings, and the heaviest of her professional career by scoreline.
A second-round clash against former world number 4 Caroline Garcia is now on the cards.
The Frenchwoman enjoyed her first Top 25 victory in over a year after defeating Jessica Pegula 6-4, 7-6(3), swarming the net and taking returns early to great effect.
Garcia’s last win over a Top 25 player was her defeat of Elise Mertens in the third round of Roland Garros 2020.
Pegula, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open last year, is still looking for her first win of 2022 after also losing her opener at Melbourne Summer Set 2 last week to Irina-Camelia Begu.