BRITISH tennis sensation Emma Raducanu is out of Wimbledon after having BREATHING difficulty against Ajla Tomljanovic in their fourth round clash.
The 18-year-old played admirably in the first set, narrowly losing 6-4, before illness forced her to quit 3-0 down in the second.
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Tomljanovic, 28, snatched a gruelling first set after breaking Raducanu’s serve in the final game, much to the disappointment of the SW19 crowd.
The teenager struggled after that, with her opponent storming into a 3-0 lead in the second set.
Raducanu was then forced to take a medical break and was unable to resume due to having difficulty breathing, Wimbledon has confirmed.
The teenager, who looked close to tears during the stop in play, did not speak after the game though may take to the podium at some point on Tuesday.
Despite having to leave the match, her performance over one hour and 15 minutes was enough to enable British fans to dream that we are not about to revert to the depressing normality and years of under achievement as the powers of Andy Murray inevitably fade.
The youngster has been the breakthrough star of this year’s tournament, reaching the third round after receiving a wild card pick.
Tomljanovic paid tribute to Raducanu in her post-match interview, telling the audience: “I am actually shocked because Emma must be hurt if she came to the decision to retire.
“I am really sorry for her, I wish we could have finished it. I am wishing her all the best.
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“I thought I found my groove, although Emma was hurt and not at her best which kind of explains it.
“It didn’t really sink in I’m in the quarters because of the circumstances.
“I am thrilled to play Ash, and to have two Aussies in the quarter-finals is great for everyone back home.”
Tomljanovic will face world No1 Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.
The hope above all else is that Raducanu has not been permanently burned by her experience in the limelight.
Being a rookie there has not been much pressure on her to win or perform, just thousands of supporters willing her on and praying for her adventure to continue.
She was the youngest and the longest lasting of all the Brits in the singles’ draw. She outlasted all the men.
The exposure has steadily cranked up as she recorded each of her three previous wins and perhaps it took a toll in the end.
The scheduling did not help. Raducanu was placed last on Court One, and it was almost 8pm when the big night finally got underway.
The BBC’s understandable desire to showcase the surprise package of British tennis on prime time TV backfired on the athlete herself.
The other seven quarter finalists had been home and hosed for hours by the time Raducanu even walked out on court for the biggest match of her life.
It was 7.59 when Tomjlanovic fired the first serve of the match by which time both players had endured hours of twiddling thumbs and pre-match routines and nerves building.
The upshot of a night match of course was that most of the well-heeled crowd were half cut and more raucous than normal.
Added to the steep sides of revamped Court One, it made for a crackling atmosphere. Not exactly Millwall or Dortmund’s yellow wall but the noise was lively and the backing for the Brit undeniable.
Raducanu responded to that in the first set at least before the onset of physical problems started to drain the fight out of her.
It took fifty minutes to complete the first set in favour of the older, more experienced woman.
Raducanu fought all the way too.
The power with which she returned, the quick recoveries and the fact she looked so comfortable under the spotlight on one of the most famous tennis courts in the world suggests she is a stayer, not just a kid on a lucky streak.
But the nervous energy expended on hanging around waiting for her chance to shine came at a cost.
At the start of the second set the youngster looked in trouble, clutching her stomach with a clear impact on her game.
Where she fought like a tiger in the first set, Raducanu was tame by comparison in the second.
Three games to love down in the blink of an eye and then requiring a medical time out after a visit from the on court medics.
The irony of the situation was brought into painful focus when BBC studio pair Clare Baldwin and Annabel Croft discussed the fact this rookie had been hanging around for 12 hours to play may have played a role in her crumbling.
Raducanu went down tonight but will be back up again.
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