Emma Raducanu begins her quest for back-to-back Grand Slam titles with a show-down against Sloane Stephens in Round One of…
Emma Raducanu begins her quest for back-to-back Grand Slam titles with a show-down against Sloane Stephens in Round One of the 2022 Australian Open on Tuesday.
Such is the remarkable rise of Raducanu inside 12 months that this is her debut in the main draw of the Australian Open and the 19-year-old sensation enters the fold as the number 17 seed.
Raducanu made global headlines when she stormed to a maiden major title at the US Open last September, reeling off ten straight wins to go from qualifier to champion and pick up a life-changing $2.5million top prize.
The teenage star has since been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2021 and appointed an MBE in the New Year Honours list.
On the court, Raducanu was beaten in the Last 64 of the Indian Wells Masters and began 2022 with a crushing 6-0, 6-1 defeat at the hands of Elena Rybakina in last week’s Sydney International after recently recovering from Covid.
This will be the Brit’s first full season on the WTA Tour and she will be determined to get off to a winning start in only her third Grand Slam appearance.
Raducanu has been handed a tough opener against 2017 US Open champion Stephens – who has dropped to 68 in the world rankings but remains a formidable opponent.
The 28-year-old made her Australian Open debut a decade ago and enjoyed a fine run to the Semi-Finals in Melbourne in 2013, while also reaching the final of the French Open in 2018.
Stephens’ best run in a Grand Slam last season came at Roland Garros – where she reached the Fourth Round – and she will be out to use her vast experience to deny Raducanu a first win Down Under in what will be their first competitive meeting.
The match gets under way from around 10.30am GMT, with either Danka Kovinić or Jang Su-jeong awaiting the winner in the Second Round later in the week.
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