Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon hopes were crushed on Centre Court by France’s Caroline Garcia as the golden girl of British sport suffered a 6-3, 6-3 second-round loss on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old, who rocketed to fame with her spellbinding US Open triumph last year, did not play badly but had no answer to Garcia’s superior firepower.
Garcia, a former top-10 player with three grasscourt titles on her CV, dominated the opening set as her aggressive return game and heavy serving unsettled the 10th-seeded Raducanu.
She continued blazing away in the second set as Raducanu, despite partisan support, fell away.
Raducanu gave her fans hope of a comeback when she broke Garcia to level the set at 3-3, but she dropped serve immediately to hand the advantage back.
Wimbledon 2022: Second seed Kontaveit defeated in second round
Garcia coolly held for 5-3 and broke the Briton again to claim an impressive victory, finishing it off with a crosscourt backhand, her 25th winner of the match.
Raducanu’s preparation for her second Wimbledon, after last year’s fairytale ride to the fourth round, had not been ideal as she struggled with a side strain that limited her court time.
Her opening win over tricky Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck had raised expectations, but Garcia, a far more dangerous opponent, offered a stark reality check.
“I was preparing for this match really well,” Garcia said of her first appearance on Centre Court.
“Emma is a huge player and in her home tournament and she proved she can do very well on the big stage. It’s fair that they support Emma and of course it a great memory for me and as always it is a lot of respect.”
Former champion Muguruza dumped out by Minnen
Belgium’s Greet Minnen registered her first career win over a top-10 opponent to beat former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-0 in a rain-hit first-round match.
Minnen came into her first meeting with world number 10 Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon the following year, having lost all three of her matches against players ranked in the top 10.
The world number 88 took the opening set on Tuesday before play was halted and needed only 18 minutes to sweep through the second against the error-prone Spaniard.
Former world number one Muguruza committed 33 unforced errors, winning just seven points in the second set, as Minnen set up a second-round clash with Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen.