May 18, 2022

Image credit: Eurosport

Billie Jean King Cup: Emma Raducanu of the UK loses to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic

On day two of the Billie Jean King Cup qualifier in the Czech Republic, a struggling Emma Raducanu lost the opener, ensuring Harriet Dart had to win her match to keep the tie alive.

Raducanu was beaten 6-1, 6-1 by 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in freezing circumstances on the Prague outdoor clay and was plagued by blisters.

In the second singles round, Dart, 25, will face Linda Fruhvirtova.

If Dart wins, the best-of-five tie will be decided in a doubles match later that day.

With Vondrousova’s triumph, the Czechs, who have won the competition six times since 2011, now have a 2-1 lead after both teams won on Friday.

The winners will advance to the finals in November, while the losers will face off in a play-off tie the following week.

Britain is one of the countries bidding to host the finals, and it could still win the competition.

Raducanu, who levelled the tie at 1-1 with a win over Martincova on Friday, was seeking to put Britain in front for the first time in the tie and give a new-look team some momentum. However, in only her second senior match on clay, world number 12 Raducanu faced a shrewd opponent who is a natural on the surface and has demonstrated that with her results.

In a one-sided opening set that lasted only 26 minutes, Raducanu, 19, was unable to cope with her opponent’s variety and court craft.

Before the start of the second set, the Briton had to leave the court for treatment, reportedly for blisters on her foot, and when the action resumed, she struggled to walk correctly.

Vondrousova rated 32nd in the world, took a 2-0 lead before losing concentration due to Raducanu’s lack of mobility.

Raducanu was given a break-back, but the Czech refocused and won the next four games to win in 62 minutes.