Emma Raducanu retirement sparks concern for Bianca Andreescu after Italian Open clash

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Bianca Andreescu sent her best wishes to Emma Raducanu after the British No 1 was forced to withdraw from their Italian Open match with a worrying back injury. Raducanu had been enjoying a strong debut claycourt season with good runs in both Stuttgart and Madrid.

The Italian Open was seen as a good opportunity for Raducanu to continue that strong form heading into the French Open later this month. But she faced a tough opening-round tie against Canadian Andreescu, who has been on a resurgence the past few months.

The 2019 US Open champion made her comeback to the WTA Tour in Stuttgart last month where she admitted to almost quitting the sport over the pressure she felt after the early success in her career. The parallels between the pair set up an interesting battle, but Raducanu appeared to be struggling with an injury from the outset.

Andreescu quickly picked up a double break in the first set before Raducanu called for a medical time out to treat her back issue. The injury has plagued Raducanu’s short career in recent months but she returned to the court to continue the match with Andreescu taking the first set.

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Down 2-1 in the second set, Raducanu then called for the physio again where she could be heard saying, “I can’t move”. The British teenager eventually retired with Andreescu progressing to the next round.

And the Canada tennis star had some words of encouragement for Raducanu over her injury issue.

“It’s definitely been difficult, but I feel like I’m slowly getting to my top form which I’m very pleased about,” Andreescu told Amazon Prime. “I hope Emma’s injury, or whatever she’s dealing with, isn’t so bad.

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“She’s an amazing player. I watched her win in the final. I expected it to be a tougher match obviously, but she’s dealing with something so I hope she’s going to be okay.”

Andreescu has dealt with injury problems of her own in her short career with a knee issue forcing her to miss the better part of two years.

The 21-year-old now progresses to the next round where she will face Nuria Parrizas-Diaz. Sara Sorribes Tormo was set to face Andreescu with the Spaniard a set up against Parrizas-Diaz, but the 25-year-old retired from the match with an injury.

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