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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Matt Majendie

Australian Open: Emma Raducanu recovers from ankle injury to make winning start

Emma Raducanu allayed fears over her ankle injury with a strong start to her Australian Open campaign on Monday.

There had been doubts about the British No1’s fitness after she slipped and turned her ankle at the ASB Classic, casting doubt over her participation in the first Grand Slam of the year.

But the 20-year-old showed little concern over the injury, which had forced her to pull out of the tournament in Auckland, in a straightforward 6-3, 6-2 win over Tamra Korpatsch.

Raducanu, though, faces the arduous task of meeting No7 seed Coco Gauff in the next round, the American having won that ASB Classic and earmarked as one of the favourites in Melbourne.

Despite playing with a strapped ankle, Raducanu said: “Everything I’ve done has been quite controlled the last week. So, I had to test it out in a real match, with the unpredictability and just getting used to it in the beginning.

“It felt good. You know it’s there and, if anything, it kind of alleviates the pressure. That’s because you’re like, I’ve done so well to get myself onto the court and my team has done so well. It’s a great achievement for all of us.

“I might as well just enjoy all the hard work we’ve done to get myself here.”

Jack Draper briefly threatened to derail defending champion and No1 seed Rafael Nadal in the toughest of opening-round draws before injury saw his challenge fizzle out in a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Nadal edged a tight first set before the British No3 swung momentum back in his favour in the second. He needed medical treatment after cramping earlier in the match and appeared to have the same issue throughout the final set.

It left him serving virtually at half pace in his final service game as Nadal, who has endured his own fitness issues in recent months, rounded out the win.

Meanwhile, there was an early British casualty when Kyle Edmund, playing in his first Grand Slam since the 2020 US Open because of three knee injuries, lost his first-round match.

Edmund had been handed a particularly tough draw against 15th seed Jannik Sinner and struggled to make any inroads in a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 defeat.

Harriet Dart was the other Briton to exit the Australian Open on day one, her bid to unsettle No32 seed Jil Teichmann steadily unravelling in a 7-5, 6-1 loss.

Cameron Norrie cut an emotive figure last week when losing the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland and missing out on a fifth ATP Tour title in the process.

In Melbourne, he made light work of the tight turnaround in tournaments to come through a tight first set for an eventually comfortable 7-6, 6-0, 6-3 win over Luca van Assche.

Having gone a break ahead, he should have served out the set but his Dutch opponent forced a tiebreak, which Norrie went on to dominate 7-3.

Two more Brits are in action on Tuesday with Andy Murray facing a tough ask having been drawn against last year’s semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini. Meanwhile, British No2 Dan Evans will take on Argentinian Facundo Bagnis.

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