Emma Raducanu put in an impressive performance despite losing 6-7 7-6 6-1 (Picture: Getty)
Raducanu put in an impressive performance despite her 6-7 7-6 6-1 defeat to the 2023 Wimbledon semi-finalist as she looked to pull off an upset in only her second match since returning to the WTA Tour following triple surgery.
The British star went toe-to-toe with the Ukrainian second seed in a high-quality battle and was superb in two of the three sets before she ran out of steam.
Speaking after the match, Svitolina said: ‘It was at a really high level. I would say it was a similar match I had with Iga at Wimbledon (7-5 6-7 6-2).
‘We were striking the ball well with every point finishing with a winner pretty much. It was good, competitive sets and it was the second best match I’ve played level wise.
‘Of course, my start to the match was really bad, I wasn’t there 100 per cent maybe mentally.
Elina Svitolina went into her match against Emma Raducanu as the favourite (Picture: Getty)
‘Also, Emma played really well, she didn’t miss one ball until 5-1, so it was a really high level and I’m happy I could be there and play well throughout the whole match.’
Raducanu, who beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse in her first match back from injury and will be in the main draw at Melbourne Park, said: ‘When you play someone like Elina, it’s very difficult to train at that level and train like that for three and a half hours.
‘Even if you practise like that for three hours, it’s not the same as having to make your first serve every time, if not, she’s on the second.
World No.1 Iga Swiatek has won four Grand Slam singles titles to date (Picture: Getty)
‘So I’m pretty pleased she compared it to that (match against Swiatek). I know it’s the start of a long season for me and I’m looking forward to reflecting on the year and having this as a starting point.
‘My intensity just dropped and I need to learn to maintain that better for longer if I’m going to compete with these players for three sets.
‘For two sets it was great, but you can’t win all of the matches in two sets. If you want to go toe to toe for three, the intensity needs to be higher for longer.
‘The first match (against Elena-Gabriela Ruse) I was a bit shaky. I think comparing the levels between the first match and this match, it’s a big difference and that’s just two matches in a long time, eight months.
‘So I’m really pleased. I love the atmosphere today, it was pretty insane, we had some really good points in the first and second set and it was amazing to have the support here in Auckland, but also back home in London.
‘I know a lot of my friends and people have been waking up early, to watch and support. So I’m glad to be back and feeling the energy of the crowds.’
Massive praise for the British star!