Emma Raducanu handed tough Australian Open draw, faces another US Open champion
Emma Raducanu will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open.
The 19-year-old sensation is seeded at a Slam for the first time, but has among the most difficult first round match-ups given that status.
While Stephens has fallen to a current ranking of world number 68 since her New York heroics in 2017, she is still a more than capable competitor.
In fact, there are only two unseeded former Major singles winners in the women’s event that Raducanu could have possibly drawn: Stephens and 480th ranked wildcard Sam Stosur, who won the 2011 US Open.
Raducanu has played just one match in 2022 after suffering a heavy 6-0, 6-1 defeat to world number 13 Elena Rybakina in the first round of the Sydney Tennis Classic.
She then displayed focused drive to improve by immediately stepping onto the practice court after what must have been a tough loss.
Should Raducanu make it past Stephens, she will face either world number
The British number one could emulate Naomi Osaka’s 2019 feat of backing up her maiden Slam triumph by winning the next event, the Japanese star doing so at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.
Unlike Osaka in 2019, Raducanu will be making her debut at the Australian Open this year.
Meanwhile, Stephens will make her 10th career appearance in Melbourne, her best result coming in 2013 when she made the semi-finals as a 19-year-old.
The American updated fans with a selfie from on-court at Melbourne Park.
“Back to work! Ready for ya Australian Open,” she captioned the image tweeted.
Back to work! Ready for ya @AustralianOpen pic.twitter.com/Bhg2SAa4Zd
— sloanestephens (@SloaneStephens) January 13, 2022
🎾 Read >> Breaking tennis news
🎾 Follow >> 24/7 LIVE scores
🎾 Free >> Receive our legendary newsletter
🎾 Join >> Tennishead CLUB, the world’s only virtual tennis club
🎾 Social >> Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & YouTube
🎾 Order >> World’s best tennis magazine
🎾 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted retail partner