Ailing Raonic suffers defeat
The cramping became so debilitating, Milos Raonic said, he couldn’t grip his racket properly.
The Wimbledon runner-up just last month, and seeded No. 5 at the U.S. Open, Raonic began to feel pain near his left wrist midway through the second set of what would become a stunning 6-7 (4), 7-5, 7-5, 6-1 second-round loss to 120th-ranked American qualifier Ryan Harrison on Wednesday.
Eventually, the problem spread to Raonic’s right forearm. Then both thighs. Then his left hip flexor.
Afterward, his back seized up when he tried to sling his equipment bag over a shoulder. No way to try to win a tennis match. Or to serve: That’s normally his most effective stroke, yet he double-faulted 15 times.
“It was just catching me all over,” Raonic said. “I started getting small [cramps] where I couldn’t hold the racket. I couldn’t switch grips from one point to the next. There were a few points where I would hold the racket with my left and try to stretch out my right hand in between shots — and that’s not going to work.”
He was one of a trio of highly seeded players to exit Flushing Meadows on Day 3, although the other departures were less surprising.
No. 3 Garbine Muguruza, the French Open champion, made 38 unforced errors and bowed out, 7-5, 6-4, against Anastasija Sevastova at night.
All four of Muguruza’s U.S. Open appearances have ended in the first or second round.
No. 9 Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2004 champion, took the first four games before losing, 6-4, 6-4, to Caroline Wozniacki, who is unseeded but can rely on the muscle memory from two trips to the final in New York.
Later under the lights, the tournament’s new $150-million retractable roof above Arthur Ashe Stadium was closed during a match for the first time, when there was rain during the second set of Rafael Nadal’s 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 victory against Andreas Seppi.
With the cover shut, the most noticeable difference was all of the crowd chatter that could be heard during points.
Nadal called the addition of the roof “an unbelievable improvement” at a tournament that for years has been plagued by rain delays.
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