Raducanu stunned the sports world last year when she went from qualifier to winner of the women’s singles in two amazing weeks in New York. But she was knocked out by Cornet, who was playing in her 63 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. Cornet defeated Raducanu 6-3, 6-3 in 1 hour 42 minutes.
“Obviously I’m disappointed that I lost the first round,” Radocano said. “Yeah, I mean thanks to Alize, you played really well. I mean [it is] Obviously really disappointing, [I’m] Really sad to leave here. It might be my favourite.
“But also, I mean in a way [I’m] Glad it’s a clean slate. I will drop the order. Climb my way back up.”
It was a match in which both players struggled to maintain serve in tumultuous conditions at Louis Armstrong Stadium, and there were five breaks in the first set.
“I think it was very windy,” said Radocano. “It was blowing, like, from back to front. It was really hard for me in particular to find my volley. I think I was hitting a lot of long serve. I just struggled to really adapt to that.
“And I mean, it’s something both players kind of have to deal with. I handled it better than I did today.”
Raducanu called a medical reprieve at the end of the first set for treatment on her right hand, after she developed blisters there during Friday’s practice session.
“I got a new one,” said Radocano. “But, you know, you line it up and move it around. It’s a blister. You can’t do much about it.”
Cornet and Radocano traded breaks at the start of the second set but the main spell came in the seventh game when Cornet broke Radocano to lead 4-3. She finished eighth and only needed one match point to smash Raducanu again and advance to the second round.
The victory is another milestone in Cornet’s year, after she reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and defeated the world number one. Iga Swiatek at Wimbledon.
For Raducanu, defeat would see her drop the WTA ranking as she sheds the 2030 points she won here last year. This is her first full year on the WTA Tour. She lost in the second round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon before being knocked out in the first round at Flushing Meadows.
“Obviously that’s a bit painful because it’s my favorite tournament and it’s obviously been a lot of emotion in the last year,” she said.
“Yeah, I mean, I’m proud that I put myself in every game, every day. As I know, I push myself to be the best that I can.”
She added, “I mean, somehow the target is going to be a little off my back. Yeah, I just have one more chance to make my way back there.”
Raducanu is unsure of her next steps and what tournaments she will play in for the rest of the year. She was also non-committal about whether to continue working with coach Dmitry Tursunov, who has been with her for the past six weeks.
She feels her primary focus in improvement is to have better consistency over the course of the next year.
“If you look at how much tennis I’ve played this year, or the drills I’ve done, it’s pretty minimal,” she said.
“We’re, like, actually back the days.
“From Rome to just after Wimbledon, I only played tennis for 14 days in two and a half months or so.
“I think the most important thing for me is just the consistency of these weeks, of training and competition. You lose a match, and you’re on the training ground after two days or something. It’s just not having these big gaps.”