Emma Raducanu has an unusual record of a Grand Slam winner who has never faced another champion. But she set the record straight with a win over the 2017 US Open Champion, Sloane Stephens that took her to the Australian Open 2nd round, where she faces Montenegrin Danka Kovinic.
The 19-year-old Emma Raducanu was playing her 1st Grand Slam since her spectacular win at last year’s US Open.
Emma breezed through the first set in just 17 minutes. But things turned Stephens’ way in the next set as the American broke Emma thrice to level Tuesday’s game.
From the moment she hit a forehand winner past Stephens to win her first point, Raducanu was on full steam, barring the mild hiccup midway through the match. Stephens held lengthy rallies displaying counterpunching and foot speed.
But Emma Raducanu was back in the 3rd and final set to end the match with the score at.6-0, 2-6, 6-1 on the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne.
The match ended when Stephens hit the net with a half-volley. Emma Raducanu dropped the racket, covering her face. It was a reaction seldom seen from top players after winning a top-ranked match.
But then it has been a roller coaster ride to the top for Raducanu that began with her stunning win at the US Open. Raducanu has been seeded 17th and this is her first appearance down under. It is only her 3rd Grand Slam tournament.
It has been a long journey since the Australian Open last year. She chose to stay back and prepare for her high school examination. She was ranked 348th then.
Emma Raducanu’s Win Over Stephens Also Marked Her First 3 Set Win
Tuesday’s match against Stephens also marked another first for Emma Raducanu as she was playing the third set for the first time at a Grand Slam. She won the US Open, winning 20 sets in a row on her way to the final win.
Raducanu says that 2022 will be a learning experience for her, a bank of experience, as she loves to term it. She says that it will stand her in good stead in the future. She signed off that she was glad that she had been able to do just that.
Raducanu remarked that she accepted the fightback by Stephen midway through the match. She was expecting that from a champion.
The British media has been hard on Raducanu post her US win. They said that following a series of endorsements, she was not fighting enough. She did lose 4 of her 6 matches after winning the US Open.