Even a brief renewal of energy midway through the third set wasn’t enough to secure Raducanu’s victory, with the 27-year-old Kovinić reaching the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. Despite the setback, the match still proved an impressive showing for Raducanu, who battled against the restrictions imposed by her injury, most notably a dramatically weakened serve, with admirable resilience. For a player who still hasn’t even completed a full year on tour, the performance served as proof—if anyone needed it—that her extraordinary victory at the U.S. Open in September was no fluke.
It was an especially disappointing day for the Brits in general, with Andy Murray and Heather Watson also knocked out of the competition, and both in straight sets. Returning to the tournament after a two-year absence, Murray suffered his defeat against the American-born Japanese player Taro Daniel, and his expressions of disappointment after the match led some to wonder if this might be his final outing in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, the most closely watched victory of the day was that achieved by Daniil Medvedev, who played Australia’s infamous tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios in a match that, despite Medvedev’s typically laser-sharp focus, didn’t offer the easy win that some might have expected. Kyrgios’s typically playful style flummoxed Medvedev’s machine-like rigor and relentlessness in the third set, which saw the Australian take the final point with a brilliantly executed drop shot, but it was clearly Medvedev’s game to lose, even against the backdrop of a somewhat unruly crowd. (After the match, Medvedev took the opportunity to gently chastise the crowd for their distracting support for Kyrgios, adding with acerbic humor that those booing “probably have a low IQ.”)