Teenage US Open champion Emma Raducanu sent 2017 Flushing Meadows champion Sloane Stephens out of Tuesday’s first hurdle at the Australian Open, bringing some devastating tennis to get back into shape. Raducanu made history by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title in New York last year, but had only won two games since.

The 19-year-old had returned to her blinding best at Margaret Court Arena despite a struggle in the second set, edging away American Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in a performance that will have her rivals sit up and take notice.

“Both me and Sloane really gave our all. I thought it was a quality match with some great rallies,” said the 17th seeded Briton, who was making her Australian Open debut.

“I’m really happy to come through against such a big champion like this.

“It was a tough match in the first round, I had to work hard for every point and I’m very happy.”

Stephens was only ranked 67 but had plenty of experience, reaching at least the quarterfinals in all four Slams.

However, she has struggled in Melbourne since reaching the last four in 2013 and has since collapsed six times in the first round.

In the first duel between the two players, the Briton got off to a brilliant start and took a 3-0 lead with Stephens winning just two points.

Confident and aggressive, Raducanu didn’t let the American get in the way, shoved her across the pitch and produced some fine winners.

Stephens was shocked and lost the first set in just 17 minutes.

But she regrouped on the substitution and scored five break points on Raducanu’s serve in a big first game of the second set, only to end up on the scoreboard thanks to a double fault.

That one game lasted 12 minutes, just five minutes shy of the entire first set.

Stephens held to make it 2-0 and then broke twice more to convincingly win the set as she improved her game dramatically and her experience came to the fore.

But it was Raducanu who fired from all guns in the third set, playing as she had in the first to storm a double break before sealing the win.


Next up is Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, who beat Korean qualifier Jang Se-jeong in three sets.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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