Australian Open players rush to aid ball girl
Follow all the action as the first-round matches continue on day two at the Australian Open.
In the women’s singles, Garbine Muguruza got off to a perfect start against Clara Burel, while British qualifier Harriet Dart could do little to stave off the brilliance of Iga Swiatek, falling 6-3 6-0 to the 2020 French Open champion. Simona Halep and Anett Kontaveit also cruised through in straight sets, although there was somewhat of a shock as Petra Kvitova was beaten by Sorana Cirstea. Leylah Fernandez, who faced Emma Raducanu in last year’s US Open final, also suffered an early exit at the hands of Australian qualifier Maddison Inglis. Raducanu’s tantalising match against Sloane Stephens will be the last out on Margaret Court Arena this morning.
In the men’s draw, the new favourite in Novak Djokovic’s absence, Daniil Medvedev, swept aside Henri Laaksonen with relative ease. There were no problems for fellow Russian and No 5 seed Andrey Rublev either, who also coasted through in three. For Andy Murray, though, it was a day of typical exhaustion as produced another triumphant performance to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili in five gruelling sets. Follow all the latest updates below:
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu reflects on victory
“I just want to thank everyone for coming out and staying so late, I really appreciate it! I thought it was a high-quality match, with lots of great rallies. I’m really happy to come through against a great champion like Sloane.”
“It was a tough match up for a first round, her athleticism is really up there – I was working really hard to win points. I’m just so happy to come through it. In the third set, I was really feeling it – the scoreline didn’t really reflect the game.”
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:59
Game, set and match! Raducanu defeats Stephens
It was far from the smooth ride that it seemed after Raducanu raced through the first set in just 17 minutes against Stephens. But she held her nerve brilliantly in that final set to clinch a victory that will feel somewhat cathartic after the slight dip she’s endured since that unforgettable fortnight in New York.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:57
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 5-1 Stephens
Stephens’ volatile form makes a comeback as she spares herself the indignity of a whitewash in the deciding set. She played brilliantly to hold serve in that game but it’s all been far too inconsistent and Raducanu will now serve for the match.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:52
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 5-0 Stephens
Stephens unravels a bit during Raducanu’s service game, giving up the chase on one gettable ball before snatching at a simple backhand return. A Raducanu double-fault brings Stephens back into the game though at 40-30 and the Briton is a little passive in the following rally before skewing a forehand just wide of the tramline. The pattern continues at deuce, with Raducanu twice earning game points only to be bullied out of rallies by Stephens’ winners.
The American then makes an awful mistake at the net, though, stabbing at a forehand volley and sending it long even though Raducanu had been dragged miles out of position. Another poor volley hands Raducanu the hold. Stephens had the chance there to give herself hope of a comeback, but she let it go.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:47
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 4-0 Stephens
Stephens starts the game with two deft volleys but then sees her second serve obliterated by a Raducanu backhand. The American follows it up with a despondent shot that limps into the net and, although a magnificent drive-volley takes the game to 30-30, another error hands Raducanu break point. Stephens succumbs to the pressure and that’s the second time she’s been broken this set.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:40
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 3-0 Stephens
Raducanu produces a magnificent backhand winner at 30-15 and lets out a huge roar. She seems to think she’s actually won the game, though, and has to turn back towards the baseline after making her way towards the chair. Stephens keeps it alive and draws an error but then overcommits on a forehand at 40-30. The finish line is coming into view for Raducanu now.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:34
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 2-0 Stephens
Raducanu defends brilliantly from well back behind the baseline again, moving the American around the court and forcing the mistake. At 30-30, Stephens makes a sloppy unforced error and then repeats it to hand over the break. That ends a run of four lost games in succession for Raducanu, who now has the advantage in the deciding set.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:30
Australian Open 2022: Raducanu 1-0 Stephens
Raducanu starts assuredly to race to 30-0 but Stephens battles back valiantly, forcing the Briton deep behind the baseline and forcing the error. The pressure builds at 30-30 but Raducanu answers with an emphatic first serve and lets out a huge roar. Raducanu then produces a fantastic backhand that dips at the net just as Stephens rushes in. The American can only muster a tame volley and Raducanu fires a winner to seal a big hold.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:26
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:20
Australian Open 2022: Stephens wins second set
Stephens makes no mistake, quickly closing out the game with a booming forehand winner. Raducanu has been stopped in her tracks after blitzing that opening set to love. The roles have reversed now and it’s Stephens whose power and precision is proving increasingly difficult for the Briton to stave off.
Tom Kershaw18 January 2022 12:17