- Emma Raducanu recently returned to playing after eight months out with injury
- She exited the Abu Dhabi Open at the last-16 stage, losing to Ons Jabeur
- There was an amusing moment before the game as a cat ran on to the court
Emma Raducanu may not have been smiling at the end of her match against Ons Jabeur on Wednesday but she certainly was before it began.
Raducanu’s bid to reach the last eight of the Abu Dhabi Open was ended in straight sets by the world No 1.
It was a fairly routine win for Jabeur and perhaps the most memorable moment of the night came before a shot had even been played.
As the players met at the net Raducanu could be seen pointing and getting herself into a fit of the giggles.
The umpire then told viewers ‘we have a cat on the court’ before the television cameras cut to a line judge removing the feline.
Emma Raducanu got a fit of the giggles as a cat delayed the start to her match on Thursday
21-year-old Raducanu briefly pushed three-time grand-slam finalist Jabeur in a close opening set.
Raducanu dropped serve in the first game of the match and was soon a double break down at 5-1.
But the 2021 US Open champion gradually began to remind everyone of just how cleanly she strikes a ball at her best.
She saved three set points before breaking Jabeur’s serve to trail 5-3, and then a gritty hold brought her to within one game.
However, Jabeur comprehensively held serve in the next to take the first set in 50 minutes.
The cat was quickly removed from the court to allow the match to get underway
The second seed converted a third break point to take the initiative at the start of the second set.
This time Raducanu, who last reached a quarter-final in September 2022, had no answer to the flurry of winners – Jabeur hit 35 in all – as she bowed out.
‘It was a tough match,’ said Raducanu. ‘Ons is a difficult opponent so credit to her, she played really well and it’s just a match that personally I need to forget about.
‘She’s a great opponent, she has amazing hand skills, makes life really hard for you on the court and especially with the balls which are really heavy. Her defensive skills are great and I think that’s something I can improve on too.’
Raducanu added that she hopes to play at the Qatar Open in Doha next week.
Raducanu’s bid to reach the last eight of the Abu Dhabi Open was ended in straight sets
Jabeur, 29, said in her on-court interview. ‘She didn’t make it easy for me, obviously.
‘Emma is such an amazing player, I wish her all the best because I know she can play much better. I am a big fan of hers.
‘Emma had an amazing experience at the US Open and everybody followed her. She’s had an amazing career.
‘Everyone has a different story, we struggle a lot, we go through a lot of things. But a lot of amazing women play on the tour.’