Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon is over after loss to qualifier Lulu Sun

Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon is over after losing to New Zealand qualifier Lulu Sun on Centre Court on Sunday. Sun triumphed 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in a dominant performance, hitting 52 winners to Raducanu’s 18 and taking control of the match with a mixture of fearless baseline play and deft, considered variety in the front half of the court.


Sun broke Raducanu twice in the first set, with the Briton — who pulled out of her mixed doubles match with Andy Murray due to stiffness in her wrist — looking at a loss with how to deal with what was coming from the other end of the court. Sun consistently got more depth on her groundstrokes, at times as much as 1.5 metres more than Raducanu, and breezed through the set.

In the second, Raducanu was able to stay with Sun and take advantage of errors on key points, including a missed volley that would have secured a break of serve and likely the match, and a long groundstroke on set point for Raducanu that let her back into the contest.

At the start of the third set, Raducanu slipped and twisted her ankle, requiring a lengthy medical timeout on a day of injuries in SW19. She recovered, but once again fell behind, and was unable to turn the tide even in front of a packed home crowd.

Sun is into the last eight as a qualifier. (Daniel Kopatsch / Getty Images)

Following the match, Sun explained how she has taken to grass so quickly, and gave a memorable answer: “I watched, on YouTube actually, Steffi Graf and Navratilova … Of course, I couldn’t watch them live!”

In only her second main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, she will take on Donna Vekic of Croatia in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Vekic beat Paula Badosa of Spain 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 earlier in the day, in three sets, after four rain delays.

A match that had a bit of everything

Analysis from The Athletic’s tennis correspondent Charlie Eccleshare

Whether she’s won or lost, Raducanu’s Grand Slam matches have almost all been straight sets. There have been very few dramatic, see-sawing occasions to shred the nerves like her predecessor as the great hope of British tennis, Andy Murray, used to produce so regularly. She’d never even played a three-set match at Wimbledon until Sunday’s defeat to Sun.

This was a match that although lacking in quality at points had a bit of everything, lasting just under three hours. Momentum swung both ways and there was the huge high for Raducanu of winning the second set, quickly followed by the deflating low of requiring a lengthy medical timeout at the start of the third. The crowd were fully engaged in the match at that point, having initially been subdued by the home player’s inspired opponent.


Sun belied her lowly ranking to produce a superb performance that should probably have seen her win the match in straight sets. She was aggressive, dextrous at the net, and with better variety than Raducanu, whose drop shots and volleys were again shaky.

The match started in front of a sparsely populated Centre Court and it was definitely Sun who benefitted from the low-key atmosphere. The crowd were flat and so was Raducanu in the opening stages as she lost her first two service games to fall 3-0 behind.

Sun was making all the running, volleying beautifully and playing far more proactively during the first set. She hit 15 winners to Raducanu’s two. At this point it looked as though this much-anticipated fourth-round match would be a damp squib. It was quiet on Centre Court and Raducanu was lacking inspiration. She’d never won a match at a slam from a set down so was up against it.

Sun is into the quarterfinals of Wimbledon at her second Grand Slam tournament. (Julian Finney / Getty Images)

Raducanu didn’t exactly come roaring back in the second set. It was more a case of “winning ugly” as she’d said of her first-round win against Renata Zarazua on Monday. Sun was still the far more aggressive player, with Raducanu pushing a lot of returns rather than going after them like she’d done against Maria Sakkari on Friday, but it was enough to give the Brit a foothold. And with Sun missing three break points throughout the set, Raducanu was able to pinch it by getting a break herself for 7-5. This was despite the winner count again being overwhelmingly in her opponent’s favour (21-9).

GO DEEPER Raducanu’s Wimbledon is over after loss to qualifier Lulu Sun

Centre Court came alive. It was the kind of atmosphere expected, with Raducanu letting out a roar of celebration, and the home supporters matching her energy.

Then came the unfortunate moment in the first game of the third set when Raducanu slipped at the back of the court and required lengthy treatment on her back. She was 15-30 down at that point and was broken when the play resumed. It felt like a balloon had been popped, with the electricity completely leaving the stadium.


Sun continued to go after the Raducanu serve and eked out another break for 5-2. She fended off break points in the next game to serve it out and reach the quarterfinals, becoming the first qualifier to do since 2010.

She’s also the second-lowest ranked player to reach the last eight here in the last 15 editions of the tournament.

As for Raducanu, this was her first run to the fourth round of a Slam since winning the US Open three years ago. She’ll be encouraged by that, but also devastated that once again she suffered physically at the most inopportune moment.

(Clive Brunskill / Getty Images)

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