Emma Raducanu given blockbuster opener


Emma Raducanu has been handed a blockbuster first round draw at the Australian Open, where she will face Sloane Stephens.

Raducanu made history at the US Open last year, where she became the only qualifier to ever win a major title.

That has resulted in her going into a Grand Slam event seeded for the first time in Australia, although the draw has not been kind to her.

Raducanu and Stephens are in the bottom half of the draw, which is headlined by second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

The Belarrusian has former French Open champion Iga Swiatek in her section, as well as former Wimbledon champions Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

Leylah Fernandez, who Raducanu beat in the final of the US Open, is also in that section.

Raducanu and Stephens have a kinder quarter, although Garbine Muguruza will be the player most are expecting to dominate it.

World number one Ashleigh Barty has not been given a kind draw in her home slam, with Naomi Osaka a potential quarterfinal opponent.

Belinda Bencic, and Maria Sakkari are also in the Australian’s section.

The remaining quarter is headlined by French Open champion Barbora Krejikova, with the dangerous Paula Badosa, Coco Gauff, and Victoria Azarenka potential standing between her and the final.

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