Tennis: for his return (also) after a long absence, Cilic wastes 9 match points and loses

The ghosts are out. This Tuesday, January 2 obviously marked, for the general public, the return to the courts of Rafael Nadal after a period without playing due to a hip injury. But he wasn’t the only one. Former Grand Slam winners Marin Cilic and Emma Raducanu also made their comebacks in Honk Kong and Auckland respectively, with mixed fortunes.

The Croatian, who fell to 674th in the world due to a rotten 2023 due to a knee injury and meniscus surgery, lost in 3 sets (3-6, 7-6, 7-6) and more than 3 hours of play against Jan-Lennard Struff (25th in the world). If he was reassuring in the game, particularly in the service, his fatal weapon, with 20 aces, the winner of the US Open 2014 broke down to conclude the match, missing 9 match points, spread out between the end of the second and that of the third round.

“I was a little rusty”

Marin Cilic had not played on the circuit since last July and a tournament in Croatia where he lost in the first round. “After coming back from such an injury, I must say that the feelings were very positive during the match,” he reacted at the end of the match. It really gives me confidence. I was a little rusty on certain knee movements, but I think it will come back with a few more matches. »

Much happier return for Emma Raducanu. The winner of the 2021 US Open, absent from the courts for more than nine months due to repeated injuries to both wrists and the ankle, won in Auckland against the Romanian Elena-Gabriela Ruse, 134th in the world. The current 301st in the WTA rankings fought for 3 sets before coming out (6-3, 4-6, 7-5). A list of returns to which we must also add that of Naomi Osaka, winner this Monday for her return after 15 months of absence for mental health problems then pregnancy.


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