British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu has returned to the Grand Slam stage with a furious prestige victory after winning the US Open.
At the Australian Open, the 19-year-old, who has been coached by Angelique Kerber’s long-standing coach Torben Beltz since this season, won the first round duel between two New York winners against Sloane Stephens (USA) 6-0, 2-6, 6-1.
In September, Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament at the US Open. Afterwards she had a hard time on the WTA tour – most recently she lost in the first round of the WTA tournament in Sydney against Kazakh Elena Rybakina 0: 6, 1: 6. Raducanu needed just 17 minutes for the first set against Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017. “We left everything on the pitch, it was a high-quality match,” she said.
Meanwhile, Spanish title contender Garbine Muguruza beat Clara Burel of France 6-3, 6-4. The number three seeded won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon a year later before falling far down the world rankings. Last year she returned to the top of the world, winning titles in Chicago and Dubai before landing a coup at the WTA Finals in Guadalajara in November.
On the other hand, US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova are out. Canadian Fernandez lost to Australian Maddison Inglis, who started with a wildcard. The Czech Kvitova found no recipe against the Romanian Sorana Cirstea and lost 2:6, 2:6.
The second in the world rankings, Aryna Sabalenka, avoided a first-round exit with great difficulty and defeated the Australian wildcard starter Storm Sanders 5: 7, 6: 3, 6: 2. Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who has been in excellent form for months, beat Kvitova’s compatriot Katerina Siniakova 6:2, 6:3.