Australian Open 2024 results: Emma Raducanu beats Shelby Rogers in Melbourne

Australian Open 2024 results- Emma Raducanu beats Shelby Rogers in Melbourne

Emma Raducanu says it feels “extra sweet” to mark her Grand Slam comeback with a confident win over Shelby Rogers in the Australian Open first round.

Britain’s Raducanu, 21, had not played at a major since last year’s event in Melbourne, having missed nearly eight months after wrist and ankle surgeries.

The 2021 US Open champion served superbly and hit her groundstrokes smoothly in a 6-3 6-2 win.

“I’m very happy to have come through that,” said Raducanu.

“I think being my first Grand Slam match back, it is definitely a little bit extra sweet.”

Raducanu’s reward is a second-round match against China’s Wang Yafan, who knocked out 22nd seed Sorana Cirstea, on Thursday.

The former British number one, now ranked 296th in the world after her lay-off, joined compatriots Katie Boulter, Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie in winning first-round matches on Tuesday.

Raducanu and Boulter – who has taken over as Britain’s highest-ranked woman – remain on course to meet each other in what would be an appetising third-round encounter.

Focus on Raducanu has been intense since she announced her arrival to the world with that remarkable US Open triumph.

The road has been rockier since the teenage qualifier won one of the biggest prizes in the sport.

There have been a series of injuries and illness, taking its toll mentally as well as physically, before the long break enforced by the surgeries in May.

But interest in her story has never waned and, on a packed outside court at Melbourne Park, Raducanu reminded us of her talent.

There will be tougher tests ahead, of course.

Rogers, who Raducanu beat on her way to her defining title in New York, is also on the comeback trail after missing the second half of last season with an abdominal injury.

Playing under a protected ranking of 51, 31-year-old Rogers showed signs of rustiness and fatigue in a match in which she made 35 unforced errors compared to 15 winners.

Nevertheless, Raducanu will take a lot of confidence from a performance where she did not face a break point and won 91% of points behind her first serve.

Raducanu clinched victory on her first match point with a forehand drive volley and immediately turned to her team with a raised clenched fist.

After shaking hands with Rogers, she smiled as she waved to the crowd and and then ran around the perimeter to thank the fans leaning over.

“I missed that feeling of playing and interacting with the crowd, so I wanted to spend some time with them,” said Raducanu, who was playing the third match of her tour-level comeback after returning in Auckland.

“I heard some young kids calling my name and it’s hard to walk away. I enjoy it and I definitely missed it when I was away.”

Boulter comes through first test

British number one Boulter also progressed to the second round at Melbourne Park after coming through a tough opening test against Yuan.

The 27-year-old edged a tight first set with a second break of serve in the 11th game after the players had exchanged early blows.

Yuan produced another immediate response to falling a break behind in the second set, levelling for 5-5 as she frustrated Boulter by forcing a tie-break.

But the Briton reset, dominating a tie-break in which she won seven of eight points – and each of the first five – to seal a pleasing straight-set victory.

She will play China’s 12th seed Zheng Qinwen in the next round, before a possible third-round meeting with fellow Briton Raducanu.

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