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Ready to make her Australian Open debut, reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu is No. 17 and tied in the lower half with a potential showdown against her idol, Simona Halep in the third round; given the lack of recent matches a concern, how far can the British teenager go to Melbourne?
Last updated: 01/15/22 7:32
Andrew Castle feels Emma Raducanu needs to rebuild again after her historic US Open win. The Brit was drawn to face Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Australian Open
Emma Raducanu enters the Australian Open with the dream of achieving another Grand Slam miracle. Will the young sensation be able to back up his US Open triumph with victory in Melbourne?
Raducanu’s historic run at Flushing Meadows last September will never be forgotten: she won 10 consecutive games to go from qualifier to US Open champion and earn a life-changing $ 2.5 million.
But life since that sensational night in New York has changed immeasurably for the Kent teenager, with the rigors of the WTA Tour’s daily grind taking over his life.
It wasn’t easy for the 19-year-old, who was tweeting about her A Levels this time last year.
“When it is a job, it is not an emotion to show up every day. For her, going to the field every single day, at times it will feel like working”
Andrew Castle talks about life on the Tour
Since the end of Britain’s 44-year wait for a women’s Grand Slam winner, Raducanu has split from coach Andrew Richardson, tasted a first WTA Tour win, hired former Angelique Kerber manager Torben Beltz, tested positive for Covid-19 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021.
All this in just four months!
Barry Cowan says although Raducanu is still learning his game, expectations ahead of the Australian Open are high
Raducanu suffered a heavy defeat at Sydney International in her first game since recovering from the coronavirus, falling 6-0 6-1 to Kazakhstan’s world number 13 Elena Rybakina.
Talking with Sky Sports News, former British No. 1 Andrew Castle said his “difficult preparation” for the Australian Open was always likely to occur.
She said, “What we saw at the US Open last year was so phenomenal, going from student to Grand Slam champion without losing a set. She didn’t beat any of the top 10 players there, but she beat everyone in front of her. in straight series.
“I’m not going to say it was an aberration, but it was one of those things where it’s almost like his career has gone reversed now. He’s achieved the big thing everyone aspires to, but now he has to build again because the life of the Tour day after day is very different.
“It’s a grind, you have to get used to it and the other players get used to you a little. When it’s a job, it’s not an emotion to show up every day. For her, going on the pitch every single day, sometimes it will feel like you to work”.
Raducanu is preparing to make his Australian Open debut in what will be only his third Grand Slam appearance. She started 2021 in 345th place, climbed to 179th in July reaching round four at Wimbledon on her Grand Slam debut and made it to the US Open in 150th place. Raducanu left New York at number 23 after winning all 20 sets he played in 10 wins on the way to the title. Now up to n. 18, can Raducanu make more history in Melbourne?
The remarkable rise of Raducanu
Difficult opening test
A first Grand Slam game since winning in the US pits her against 2017 New York champion Sloane Stephens in Melbourne.
Stephens, who recently married footballer Jozy Altidore, has slipped to 68th in the standings but at her best she is a formidable opponent and reached the semi-finals in Melbourne nine years ago.
The American’s latest Tour win came against Raducanu compatriot Heather Watson in Indian Wells and hasn’t played at all since defeating Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November.
Stephens has lost in the first round of the Australian Open in their last two appearances.
“He is building right now and I think the draw against Sloane Stephens is absolutely fascinating. Stephens, even if she is a Grand Slam champion, would almost be considered an underachiever for her talent,” said Castle, who reached the semi-final. 1988 men’s doubles finals in Melbourne alongside Roberto Saad.
“She is wonderfully gifted and it is almost great news that she is playing a big name, albeit unseeded, in the first round for Emma. I wish her the best of luck this year, but be patient because she is absolutely brilliant.”
The British number 1 spoke to Sky News host Jacquie Beltrao about her fairytale in New York and her goals for 2022
The idol Halep awaits
Raducanu hopes to regain her shape on the outdoor concrete which brought her great success in New York. It will feel at home on the surface of the Plexicushion in Melbourne, which has an average pace with less rebound and less spin than the US Open.
Should she overtake Stephens, the 19-year-old will face world number 99 Danka Kovinic or a second-round qualifier before a potential showdown against her idol Simona Halep in the third round.
Former world number 1 Halep has already sung the praises of Raducanu, claiming that the US Open champion will eventually become one of the best players in the world.
They were supposed to meet in the semifinals of the Transylvania Open last year, but the Briton made it to the quarter-finals in her father’s birthplace.
There is nothing easier …
Should Raducanu overtake Halep, two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza could be lurking.
The 2020 Australian Open finalist has enjoyed a career resurgence since joining forces with legendary Conchita Martinez. The Spaniard won the 2021 WTA end-of-year finals, finishing the season at number 3 on the leaderboard.
Rybakina could be next in line for Britain’s number 1 in the quarter-finals, having already beaten her to a one-game defeat in Sydney. Estonian big hitter Anett Kontaveit is another potential opponent of the last eight.
Looking even further, former Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek or Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka could take on Raducanu in the semifinals.
And if he does win two Grand Slam titles, how about a clash against world number 1 Ashleigh Barty or reigning champion Naomi Osaka on Saturday 29 January? It is definitely an appointment to keep in your journals.
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