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Tennis Watson fails to qualify for Australian Open, Raducanu hopes to recover from injury

HEATHER WATSON was the highest-profile British casualty in Australian Open qualifying today after losing to Aliona Bolsova in her first-round match.

British number-five Watson was defeated 7-6 (4) 6-3 by her Spanish opponent; her compatriots Sonay Kartal and Paul Jubb also fell to disappointing results in Melbourne.

Kartal took Elizabeth Mandlik of the United States to a decider after fighting back in the second set, eventually falling 6-4 3-6 6-1.

Jubb’s match against Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic followed a similar pattern after he forced a decider, only to ultimately succumb 6-3 1-6 6-4.

Emma Raducanu is hopeful of being fit for next week’s tournament but is taking it a day at a time in her recovery from an ankle injury.

British number-one Raducanu told Tennis Australia: “It was really unfortunate last week [in Auckland] because I was feeling great about my season and feeling really good with the preparation I did physically. I just had an accident on the court, which I don’t know what I could have done to prevent.

“Hopefully by Monday or whenever the tournament starts [for me] I’ll be OK and ready but we’re just taking it a day at a time and not trying to expect too much at this point.”

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