Raducanu learning on the job a...


Raducanu learning on the job as she seals first Australian Open win

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A third round meeting of Emma Raducanu and Simona Halep is on the cards following opening round victories for both at the Australian Open. 

Raducanu beat former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in three sets, while Halep - seeded 14 this year - saw off Magdalena Freçh in straights.

Things started incredibly brightly for Raducanu, who won the first set to love, conceding only four points along the way. But Stephens eventually woke up with the arrival of the second set, breaking the 19-year old in a lengthy first game.

Stephens managed to keep Raducanu at arm's length, taking the second set 6-2. But the reigning US Open champion - playing her first ever main draw game in Melbourne - put the boot down in the third, racing into a 5-0 lead before sealing the decider 6-1.

"I went out there and I played a great first set," said Raducanu, "I executed my game plan pretty well and was making very little unforced errors, but of course because Sloane is a great champion, she was fighting back in the second set.

"Her defensive skills were pretty inspiring, actually, for me to try and replicate myself later on. So we got into some long rallies. She turned it around. Then in the third set I'm just glad I could regroup and make less errors again and play some good tennis.

"Some of those shots she was getting to I couldn't believe, like her squash shot, her forehand on the run, I couldn't believe the ball kept coming back.

"I definitely think that I want to learn from that, and it's tough, because it's a bit deceiving. You don't think she's at the ball, but then she comes back and the ball is coming back with an even better angle on it."

Next up for Raducanu is a second round meeting with Danka Kovinić. She's in a star-studded second of the draw, with third seed Garbine Muguruza a possible 4th round opponent following her 6-3, 6-4 win over Carla Burel of France.

The highest-profile victim on day 2 in the women's draw was former finalist, Petra Kvitova. The two-time Wimbledon champion lost 6-2, 6-2 to Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka was lucky not to go the same way of Kvitova, losing the first set of her match with wildcard Storm Sanders, before prevailing in three.

And long-time home favourite Sam Stosur - now 37 - rolled back the years to beat fellow wild card Robin Anderson in straight sets, to set up a second round meeting with 10th seed, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

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Australian Open Emma Raducanu Simona Halep Sloane Stephens Tennis

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