Australian Open: Emma Raducanu downs Sloane Stephens

Emma Raducanu defeated Sloane Stephens in the opening round of Australian Open

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Emma Raducanu defeated Sloane Stephens in opening round of Australian Open

Emma Raducanu made a winning debut at the Australian Open as she defeated Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 on Tuesday in Melbourne.

Four months ago, Raducanu had become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam as she clinched the US Open title.

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The British No 1 picked up where she had left off, pocketing the first set in only 17 minutes.

“Both me and Sloane put everything out there and it was a very good match,” said Raducanu, who wrapped up victory shortly before midnight and thanked an excited crowd for staying.

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“We had some great rallies and I’m happy to come through against such a great champion.”

The 19-year-old will face Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic in the second round on Thursday.

Fernandez, Kvitova out

US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez and former Grand Slam champion Petra Kvitova were the biggest casualties on Day 2 of Australian Open.

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Czech Kvitova was beaten 6-2 6-2 by Romania’s Cirstea in just 72 minutes.

Kvitova, who lost to Cirstea in the second round at last year’s tournament, has not gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam since the 2020 US Open.

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Canadian teenager Fernandez lost 6-2 6-4 to Australian wildcard Maddison Inglis, who was tearful after winning her first match at Melbourne Park.

Murray wins on Melbourne return

Andy Murray earned his first victory at the Australian Open in five years Tuesday as he overcame 21st seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 to reach the second round.

Murray soaked up the Georgian’s powerful groundstrokes in a performance full of grit and determination to advance after three hours and 52 minutes.

“It is amazing [to be back],” Murray said in his on-court interview.

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“It has been a tough three, four years. I have put a lot of work to be back here and I have played on this court many times and the atmosphere has been incredible.

“I have always had fantastic support and this is the court I thought I potentially played my last match on. But it is good to be back, winning a five-set battle like that. I could not ask for any more.”

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The Scot, who broke Basilashvili nine times,, will next face Taro Daniel after the Japanese qualifier defeated Chile qualifier Tomas Barrios Vera 7-6(5), 6-1, 6-1.

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