|Dates: 16-29 January Venue: Melbourne Park|
|Coverage: Commentary every day from 07:00 GMT on Radio 5 Sports Extra ‘Tennis Breakfast’ live from Melbourne, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app.|
Emma Raducanu made a positive return to court after her injury scare, moving into the second round of the Australian Open with a straight-set win.
On the opening day in Melbourne, the British number one won 6-3 6-2 against Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch.
Raducanu, 20, rolled her ankle in Auckland 11 days ago and a beaming smile after sealing victory showed her joy at coming through her first test.
British men’s number one Cameron Norrie also advanced with a straight-set win.
Norrie, seeded 11th, progressed from the first round for only the second time in five attempts with a 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 6-3 success over teenage French wildcard Luca van Assche.
The 27-year-old left-hander had a short turnaround after playing in the Auckland final on Saturday, when he lost to French veteran Richard Gasquet.
“I was pretty nervous but I managed to relax in the second set there and close out a tough game. Not my best level but I’ll build on it,” said Norrie, who earned the biggest win of his career by beating Rafael Nadal at the United Cup earlier this month.
“I enjoyed the match after that tricky first set.”
Norrie and Raducanu were the only two British players to win at Melbourne Park, with Raducanu now set to face American seventh seed Coco Gauff in round two.
Rising star Jack Draper was beaten by Spanish great Rafael Nadal, while Kyle Edmund lost 6-4 6-0 6-2 to Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner.
Edmund, 28, reached the semi-finals in 2018 but is trying to rebuild his career after a knee injury which needed three operations before he returned to the tour last year.
Playing using a protected ranking, it was another tough draw at a Grand Slam for Edmund after he faced eventual runner-up Casper Ruud at last year’s US Open.
Harriet Dart, Britain’s only other representative in the women’s singles, lost 7-5 6-1 to Swiss 32nd seed Jil Teichmann.
Gauff, 18, is among the favourites to win the women’s singles at Melbourne Park and started with a 6-1 6-4 victory over Czech opponent Katerina Siniakova.
American third seed Jessica Pegula, Gauff’s doubles partner and another favoured by many to win her first major singles title, made an even bigger statement with a 6-0 6-1 victory over Romania’s Jaqueline Cristian which took just 59 minutes.
Comfortable start for Raducanu but bigger tests lie ahead
When Raducanu left the Auckland court in tears, her chances of playing at the first major of the season looked in serious doubt.
Physical issues have plagued the Briton since she was catapulted to superstardom by winning the 2021 US Open as a teenage qualifier and, after employing Andy Murray’s former fitness coach Jez Green, she worked hard in pre-season on building her body to withstand the rigours of the WTA Tour.
So it was a bitter blow when she rolled her left ankle in what she described as a “freak accident”.
Raducanu’s movement improved in practice at Melbourne Park as last week went on, but the real indication of her condition would only be apparent in a match scenario.
“Everything I’ve done has been quite controlled the last week,” she said.
“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 any pressure.
“That’s because you’re, like, I’ve done so well to get myself on to the court, and my team has done so well. It’s a great achievement for all of us.”
With strapping on the ankle, Raducanu initially looked cautious when she stretched out to the backhand side and had to put weight on the affected foot.
A poor quality start littered with unforced errors saw the pair exchange five breaks of serve before Raducanu began to grow in confidence.
Korpatsch, 27, is ranked a place higher than Raducanu but does not have the same pedigree and was making her Australian Open main-draw debut.
A double fault from the German – who is more comfortable on clay and looked nervous throughout – brought up a match point which Raducanu took when Korpatsch hit a forehand long.
Raducanu twirled on the court in celebration, but knows a much tougher test lies ahead when she plays Gauff on Wednesday.
“I might as well just enjoy all the hard work we’ve done to get myself here,” said Raducanu.
“If anything, it’s not mental, it’s more physical and just playing, seeing how it is.”
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