Emma Raducanu opens her Australian Open campaign in fine style with a straight-sets win over Tamara Korpatsch – setting up tantalising clash with Coco Gauff in the second round
- Emma Raducanu has set up a fascinating second-round clash with Coco Gauff
- The Brit was impressive, taking 85 minutes to beat Tamara Korpatsch 6-3, 6-2
- She will now encounter rising American star Gauff, 18, in a high-profile clash
- Raducanu appeared unbothered by the ankle injury she picked up in Auckland
Emma Raducanu set up a fascinating second round clash with fellow young star Coco Gauff after easing through her first test at the Australian Open.
The British number one put injury fears aside as she overcame Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch 6-3, 6-2 in 85 minutes. It was a highly satisfactory performance from the 2021 US Open champion, albeit against a player with marked limitations.
Her reward is a high-profile match with the 18-year-old number seven seed, who defeated Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-1, 6-4.
Raducanu was impressive as she took just 85 minutes to progress to the second round against world No.76 Tamara Korpatsch
Looking ahead to the Gauff encounter, Raducanu said: ‘I’m really looking forward to this match. I’m very up for it.
‘Coco has obviously done a lot of great things and she’s playing well. I think we’re both good, young players, we’re both coming through, part of the next generation of tennis, really.
‘I know her a fair bit. Off the court she’s really nice and friendly and really down-to-earth. Yeah, she’s cool.
She was delighted to have beaten Korpatsch, saying: ‘I’m just happy with the way I kind of handled myself today in the matches. There were points where I wasn’t necessarily playing the best, but I was good mentally to carry on going.
‘She’s tricky. Like, sometimes she will hit high, sometimes nothing, sometimes she’ll shank it but it would be really effective. It was tough. I had to stay on my feet, on my toes.’
The British star didn’t appear to be bothered by the ankle injury she picked up during a tournament in Auckland – but it was strapped when she arrived on court
Korpatsch’s game is heavily suited to clay courts – and it didn’t do her many favours at Melbourne Park
Raducanu had plenty to be pleased about as she penetrated the court impressively and looked mobile, displaying too much class for an overmatched opponent.
She walked out to start the opening day’s programme on a sultry morning before a packed crowd on the 1573 Area, the fifth largest at the ever-growing Melbourne Park.
Against her was the 27-year-old world number 76, a scrappy player who has had to fight for everything she had got.
Her ranking has been built almost entirely on her favoured clay courts, something betrayed by her loopy groundstrokes and perfunctory serve.
Korpatsch would not win many marks for elegance but is effective enough in mixing up her game to discomfort opponents.
Raducanu broke her opponent’s serve six times on her way to the 6-3, 6-2 victory
She’ll now face another rising star in Coco Gauff, after the 18-year-old American wasted little time defeating Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-4
Raducanu emerged with a strapping on the left ankle she hurt in Auckland, but was armed with the knowledge that she had won their previous meeting in Stuttgart last April, which was played on clay.
So there should have been little to fear, had the British player not been so lacking in matches since the autumn, and been restricted in her preparations here.
A rather messy first set began with the first of four breaks that Raducanu won against her awkward delivery, but was immediately given back. The 20 year-old from Kent mixed groundstroke winners with a few errors to get to 3-1 but was then pulled back level again.
From there she surged ahead to take the set, finding plenty of pop on her serve and taking the ball early to drive through the court.
These were the flashes of the player who won the US Open and she was moving well enough, while perhaps being slightly compromised when launching into the backhand. A superb forehand pass clinched the set.
It was to be a run of six straight games for Raducanu, who was looking in full control at 3-0. Korpatsch, taking bigger and flatter cuts at the ball, mounted some sterner resistance.
Yet it was clear who was the better player throughout, and there were no dramas at the end as Raducanu closed it out on her second match point, breaking serve for the sixth time.