Emma Raducanu overlooked for French Open wildcard and may have to qualify

Emma Raducanu overlooked for French Open wildcard and may have to qualify

Emma Raducanu will likely have to drop down to play in the French Open qualifying draw next week if she wants to compete in the tournament after she was declined a main draw wildcard to the second grand slam tournament of the year, which begins on 26 May.

The French Tennis Federation (FFT) released its list of wildcards for the 2024 tournament on Tuesday, opting to reserve its wildcards solely for local French players and its reciprocal wildcard agreements with the Australia and French Open.

Although currently ranked No 212 as she continues her comeback from an eight-month layoff following three surgeries last year, Raducanu has entered the tournament with her protected ranking of 103. She is currently four places outside the French Open main draw, meaning she needs four players ranked higher than her on the entry list to pull out before the qualifying draw is conducted at the end of this week.

Raducanu has not competed since losing in the opening round of the Madrid Open last month. Her clay court season had started extremely well, leading Great Britain to a significant win over France in the Billie Jean King Cup before reaching the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart Open.

After just two weeks of competition, though, Raducanu admitted that she was feeling fatigued following defeat to María Lourdes Carlé in Madrid. She has not competed since then; the Italian Open similarly chose to reserve its wildcards for local players and Raducanu has declined to drop down and compete in the WTA 125 events hosted in the second week of Madrid and Rome, which could have provided further opportunities to gain more matches, confidence and ranking points.

Raducanu had been scheduled to compete in the Strasbourg WTA 500 next week, during the French Open qualifying draw, but she withdrew shortly before the French Open announced its wildcard recipients, an indication that she still intends to play in Paris.

The French Tennis Federation’s decision to reserve its wildcards solely for local players and its reciprocal deals with other grand slam federations has consequences beyond Raducanu’s omission. With numerous high-profile comebacks and farewells, a number of prominent players will miss out.

Dominic Thiem has missed out on a place in the main draw. Photograph: Andy Wong/AP

Dominic Thiem, a two-time French Open finalist and former US Open champion, announced last week that this season will be his last after his career was derailed by a serious wrist injury. Although his final appearance at the French Open would have been a significant moment, he is in a similar position to Raducanu, just a few places out of the main draw. In order to say a proper farewell in Paris, he will also likely have to come through the qualifying draw.

Other omissions include Caroline Wozniacki, who is still yet to return to the top 100 nine months after her comeback. Simona Halep, meanwhile, will not be present in Paris. After withdrawing from Madrid due to physical issues, where she did receive a wildcard, the Romanian has not competed since returning from her reduced anti-doping ban at the Miami Open in March.

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Swiatek unlocks Keys to book place in Italian Open semi-finals

Two-time champion Iga Swiatek eased into the Italian Open semi-finals with a 6-1, 6-3 win over 18th seed Madison Keys, and will play either the American third seed Coco Gauff or China’s Zheng Qinwen.

The quarter-final in Rome was a repeat of Swiatek’s recent semi-final clash with Keys in Madrid, which ended with the same scoreline.

The world No 1 broke serve in the opening game, and while Keys won her next service game to love to make it 2-1, the Polish top seed won the next four games to take the first set in 26 minutes. Swiatek needed just one break in the second set, which gave her a 3-1 lead, and when she saved four break points in the next game to hold serve, Keys’ chance of a comeback ended.

“Honestly I felt really good today, even if I knew one or two points could change everything,” Swiatek said. “I’m glad that I served well because I think when we were kind of even in the games sometimes, I could win two points just by serving. It’s something that doesn’t happen often in my game, so today was a good day in terms of that.”

Swiatek is aiming to win her fourth title of 2024 having already triumphed at the Qatar Open, Indian Wells and the Madrid Open. Reuters

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