SYDNEY: U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu was crushed 6-0 6-1 by in-form ninth seed Elena Rybakina at the Sydney Tennis Classic on Tuesday. Briton Raducanu, playing her first match this season, was comprehensively outplayed in the opening set as her Kazakh opponent took advantage of her unsteady serve, which included four double faults. Rybakina, runner-up to world number one Ash Barty in the Adelaide International on Sunday, kept up the intensity in the second set and clinched the win in just under an hour The loss was a blow to Raducanu’s preparations for the Jan. 17-30 Australian Open, having withdrawn from the warm-up event in Melbourne last week following a positive test for COVID-19. Fellow Briton Andy Murray had an easier time against Norwegian qualifier Viktor Durasovic, cruising to a 6-3 6-1 win in the ATP 250 tournament at the same venue. Earlier, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic made a solid start to 2022 with a 6-3 6-2 victory over Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia to reach the second round and local favourite Ajla Tomljanovic also advanced. World number 45 Tomljanovic beat Slovak Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-2 6-3 to set up a second-round match with Spanish fifth seed Paula Badosa.