Emma Raducanu hits out at ‘insane’ officiating after grass-court victory

Emma Raducanu hits out at ‘insane’ officiating after grass-court victory

Emma Raducanu opened her grass-court season with a heartening 6-1, 6-4 win over Ena Shibahara in the first round of the Rothesay Open – and a sharp jab at the Brazilian umpire Ana ­Carvalho. Her straight-sets victory over the Japanese ­qualifier in ­Nottingham was followed by a pointed attack on the standard of the officiating.

There is no Hawk-Eye system in operation at the tournament and Raducanu was distinctly unimpressed after a series of tight calls went against her. “I feel like I was playing two v one on court – it was insane,” said Raducanu. “I would have used probably at least four challenges [if we’d had them].

“I think a lot of the time they go both ways. Today I felt they were all against me but it just makes me feel better that I managed to beat her and the umpire as well. It is difficult when there is no challenge but it is something everyone has to deal with. Maybe it was just trying to make the match more competitive.

“It’s something I had to deal with and overcome. I am very pleased with the attitude I came out with from the get-go and also having to deal with the adversity too.”

Raducanu’s displeasure peaked when the umpire overturned a line judge’s out call for a backhand ­volley from Shibahara in the third game – the only one the former world No 10, currently down at 279 in the rankings after her injury problems – won in the first set.

Having already ­queried the two other calls by that point, Raducanu marched up to the chair and remonstrated with the official over the decision. “She ­[Shibahara] reacted like it was out,” said ­Raducanu to no avail.

The 21-year-old was also unhappy with a “really bad” line call in the ninth game of a second set that she took 6-4. Despite her frustrations she stopped short of backing the call from British teammate Harriet Dart for blanket electronic line technology at all tournaments.

“I feel this year Hawk-Eye has been a little bit off – I don’t know why,” said Raducanu. “I think there is a beauty in having all the linesmen and it does add to the drama for the spectators. For us it can be the most frustrating thing ever.”

Regardless , Raducanu performed well on home soil in front of an ­enthusiastically supportive crowd in her first match on grass for almost two years.

She looked physically at ease in her 70 minutes on court, bringing up her first victory at the Nottingham event at the third time of asking.

Raducanu suffered a minor ­stutter closing out the match but when ­Shibahara struck a forehand into the net to end the contest there was a clench of the fist and a broad grin.

It sets the wildcard up for a Thursday ­second-round ­meeting on Thursday with Ukraine’s World No 127, Daria Snigur, who defeated the second seed, Marta Kostyuk, 6-3, 6-3.

Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, the No 1 seed, started out with a comfortable straight-sets win over Colombia’s Camila Osorio, the world No 81.

Britain’s men’s No 1, Cam Norrie, came through 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 against Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro in the first round of the men’s Challenger event in Nottingham. “These matches are invaluable before Wimby,” said ­Norrie. “I had to scrap in that third set. Always that first match back on grass is not easy.”

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The No 2 seed, Dan Evans, ­chasing a third victory in the tournament, edged out Switzerland’s Dominic Stricker 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

On Wednesday Evans will face the Wimbledon boys’ champion Henry Searle, 18, who fought his way through qualifying to reach the first round and progressed impressively with a straight-sets victory over America’s Denis Kudla, the runner-up in the tournament three years ago.

Andy Murray plays a shot View image in fullscreen

Murray’s Stuttgart stay ended by Giron

Andy Murray’s preparations for what is expected to be his final Wimbledon got off to an inauspicious start as he lost in the first round of the Stuttgart Open. The two-time SW19 champion headed to Germany to get some match practice before his home grand slam which begins next month, but he went down 6-3, 6-4 to Marcos Giron.

It was the opposite of what Murray was hoping for and the 37-year-old could be entering the final weeks of his stellar career after hinting at retirement this summer. He will return to London to play at Queen’s where he dominated for so long, hoping for a longer run than in Germany.

In the 999th singles match of his career, Murray was off the pace against the world No 54 and fended off early break points, before being broken in the fifth game. There was never any way back for the Scot and a break in the third game of the second set spelled the end.

The British No 2, Jack Draper, will meet Giron in the second round. PA Media