Medvedev, Raducanu, Murray among Day 2 winners at Australian Open

Emma Raducanu of Britain reacts after winning a point against Sloane Stephens of the U.S. in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. (Tertius Pickard/AP)

Emma Raducanu has beaten Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in a seesawing first-round match between U.S. Open champions.

The No. 17-seeded Raducanu won the first set in 17 minutes and seemed to be in complete control of her debut main draw match at Melbourne Park.

But Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open winner, converted her fifth break point chance to open the second set in a 12-minute game that finished on a pair of double-faults from Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open winner.

Two early service breaks gave Raducanu a 5-0 lead and she served it out to finish in 1 3/4 hours. It was her first win of 2022.

Raducanu will play No. 98-ranked Danka Kovinic in the next round.

The match brought Day 2 to a close, finishing minutes after men’s fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas wrapped up the program on Rod Laver Arena with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-3 win over Mikael Ymer.

Tsitsipas, a runner-up at the French Open and a semifinalist in Australia last year, will play Sebastian Baez in the next round.

Five-time finalist Andy Murray needed a tough five-setter over a player he beat last week to register his first win in an Australian Open match since 2017.

Murray beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 to move into the second round.

Murray also fended off Basilashvili last week in a three-hour three-setter on the way to the final in a Sydney tuneup event.

In another tough five-setter, Maxime Cressy beat fellow American and 22nd-seeded John Isner 7-6 (2), 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-7 (4), 6-4.

Second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka rallied from a set and a break down to beat wild card Storm Sanders 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 in the first-round night match on Rod Laver Arena.

Sabalenka lost her opening matches at two tune-up tournaments and appeared to be headed the same way when she trailed No. 128-ranked Sanders 3-1 in the second set.

But she rebounded to win the next nine games and 11 of the last 13 to secure the win.

Sabalenka will next play Wang Xinyu, who opened with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Ann Li.

Title favourite Daniil Medvedev has moved into the second round with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Henri Laaksonen, extending his Grand Slam winning streak to eight matches.

That includes his victory in the U.S. Open final last September, a result that denied top-ranked Novak Djokovic a calendar-year Grand Slam.

“I’m feeling great . . . hopefully I can show some good signs here throughout the two weeks,” No. 2-seeded Medvedev said. “I like pressure.”

Medvedev is bidding to become the first Russian man to win the Australian Open title since Marat Safin, who beat Lleyton Hewitt in the final in 2005.

Garbine Muguruza has extended her first-round success record at Melbourne Park. The 2020 Australian Open finalist and winner of the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon tournaments has never lost a first-round match in her now 10th year of competition here.

Muguruza beat Clara Burel 6-3, 6-4 to open play on Rod Laver Arena.

“I am aware, I am aware,” Muguzura said, laughing, when asked if she was aware of her perfect streak in first-round matches. “I am so motivated here… you are so nervous when everybody can beat everyone, so very happy I managed to finish it off.”

The 20-yaer-old Burel is one of eight women from France to start the main draw at Melbourne Park — the most since 2012.

Eighth-seeded Casper Ruud has been forced to withdraw from his first-round match at the Australian Open because of an ankle injury.

The Norwegian player was in the same quarter of the draw as Stefanos Tsitsipas. Ruud twisted his ankle in practice two days before the tournament began.

“I hoped that I would be able to recover and be able to step on court today with the two days that I had, but rolling an ankle usually maybe needs some more time,” Ruud said. “I tried everything I could to be ready, but unfortunately I’ve decided that I’m not ready.”

He was replaced in the draw by Roman Safiulin, a so-called lucky loser from qualifying who will now face Slovakian Alex Molcan in the opening round.

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