Australian Open: Emma Raducanu puts injury worries behind her to set up Coco Gauff clash in Melbourne | Tennis News

Emma Raducanu put injury worries behind her to make a winning start at the Australian Open and set up a blockbuster second-round meeting with Coco Gauff.

The 20-year-old former US Open champion had the left ankle she rolled in Auckland 11 days ago taped up but grew in confidence through the match and eased to a 6-3 6-2 victory over Tamara Korpatsch in her opening match at Melbourne Park after an hour and 25 minutes.

“I’m just really happy to have come through that. Everything I’ve done has been quite controlled the last week so to test it out in a real match and with the unpredictability, I was just getting used to it in the beginning, but, it felt good,” Raducanu said of her ankle.

“For me to be out there, it’s like I might as well just enjoy all the hard work we’ve done to get myself here.”

Seventh seed Gauff, who defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-4, will offer a significantly different challenge as she looks to emulate Raducanu by winning a Grand Slam.

Although she is more than a year younger than Raducanu, Gauff has already played for three and a half years on the main tour, climbing into the top 10 and establishing the sort of solid base her next opponent is still seeking.

Given a warm welcome on a packed mid-sized 1537 Arena, Raducanu initially looked hesitant on serve and stretching out wide to her backhand.

The crunch moment of the first set came in the seventh game after Raducanu had twice been pegged back from a break ahead.

The British No 1 has taken an aggressive approach under new coach Sebastian Sachs and tried to seize the initiative on her forehand.

It paid off as she secured another break, clenching her fist in the direction of her team, and it was start of a run of six games in a row that put her in full control of the contest.

By now putting a lot more weight behind her backhand and looking confident in her game plan, Raducanu wrapped up victory when Korpatsch pushed a forehand long.

Coco Gauff of the United States of America in action during Round 1 of the 2023 Australian Open on January 16 2023, at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Coco Gauff eased into the second round with victory over Katerina Siniakova on Rod Laver Arena

Looking ahead to playing 18-year-old Gauff on Wednesday, Raducanu said: “I’m really looking forward to this match. I’m up for it. Coco has obviously done a lot of great things and she’s playing well. I’m just looking forward to the matchup.

“I think we’re both good, young players, we’re both coming through. Part of the next generation of tennis really. It’s going to be a great match.”

Raducanu vs Korpatsch: Match Stats

Raducanu Match Stats Korpatsch
2 Aces 0
3 Double Faults 3
67% 1st serve win percentage 60%
50% 2nd serve win percentage 20%
6/13 Break points won 2/4
27 Total winners 10
34 Unforced errors 25
66 Total points won 49
Britain's Kyle Edmund reacts to loosing a point to Italy's Jannik Sinner during their Round of 32 match at the Adelaide International Tennis tournament in Adelaide, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Kelly Barnes)
Kyle Edmund was swept aside by Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner

There was not such good news for Kyle Edmund, who lost 6-4 6-0 6-2 to 15th seed Jannik Sinner on his return to Melbourne Park.

Sidelined for most of the last two years having undergone three knee operations, former semi-finalist Edmund was playing here for the first time since 2020.

As at the US Open, though, where he played Casper Ruud, the luck of the draw was not on Edmund’s side and Italian Sinner, one of the world’s best young players, proved far too strong.

“I like the conditions. Obviously when you play in stadiums for me it’s a little bit easier, the court is a little slower,” Sinner said.

“Outside is a little tougher, but when you make always the quarter-finals in any Slam it means you like the conditions, so I’m very happy to be back here.”

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