In a battle of two US Open champions, it was Emma Raducanu who came out on top against Sloane Stephens to secure a much-needed win in the first round of the Australian Open. Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99
Emma Raducanu came through a topsy-turvy match against Sloane Stephens to reach the second round of the Australian Open.
Playing in Melbourne for the first time in her career, US Open champion Raducanu raced through the first set in 17 minutes.
However, she dropped the second set and had to recover to secure a 6-0 2-6 6-1 win.
Raducanu will next face world No. 98 Danka Kovinic, with two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep a potential third-round opponent.
While the performance from Raducanu against Stephens was not perfect, this was a much-needed result for the 19-year-old.
The British No. 1 struggled to hit top form in the second half of 2021 after her shock US Open win and won just one game as she was thrashed by Elena Rybakina in Sydney last week.
But Raducanu, who tested positive for Covid-19 in December, looked in blistering form in the first set against 2017 US Open champion Stephens as she lost just four points.
Raducanu hit seven winners in the 17-minute set and was helped out by eight unforced errors from Stephens.
Stephens hit back at the start of the second set, breaking after a lengthy game to get on the scoreboard.
Raducanu responded to level at 2-2, only to then drop four games in a row as Stephens levelled the contest.
With the match in the balance, Raducanu raised her game in the third set, hitting cleanly through the ball and finding her range again.
She reeled off five games in a row to take control of the set and closed it out on her own serve.
Stream the 2022 Australian Open live and on demand on discovery+. A subscription for discovery+ is now £29.99 for the first year for UK users, down from £59.99