Medvedev Begins Bid For Australian Open As Raducanu Makes Debut


Medvedev begins bid for Australian Open as Raducanu makes debut

Melbourne, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Jan, 2022 ) :The top men's seed remaining in the Australian Open, Russia's Daniil Medvedev, begins his campaign for a second Grand Slam title on an action-packed Tuesday at Melbourne Park.

Fellow US Open champion Emma Raducanu will make her Australian Open debut, while Garbine Muguruza, Simona Halep, Aryna Sabalenka, Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas all feature on a blockbuster second day.

The sensational deportation of number one seed Novak Djokovic from the first Grand Slam of the year has left Medvedev as the highest-ranked player in the draw.

The world number two begins his quest in an afternoon clash against Switzerland's 91st-ranked Henri Laaksonen on Rod Laver Arena.

Before that Spanish world number three Muguruza, a finalist at Melbourne Park two years ago, opens the day's play in a women's singles first-round clash on centre court against Clara Burel of France.

Raducanu will have her first taste of Australian Open action in a tough late-night match on the neighbouring Margaret Court Arena against American 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens.

So rapid has been the rise of the 19-year-old Raducanu, who made history at the US Open as the first qualifier to win a Slam, that a year ago she was catching the Australian Open on television while studying for school exams.

"I was watching from afar last year," said Raducanu, who has played in the juniors at Melbourne but never in the main draw, and had her preparations hampered by contracting Covid-19.

"I just feel very grateful to have this opportunity to play here. I'm really looking forward to seeing it." Medvedev, who conquered Djokovic in the US Open final in September to win his maiden major, fired out a warning at the weekend that he fears no one.

"I'm feeling ready physically and mentally," he said.

"That's the most important thing. That's when I can play good and beat anybody." Greece's Tsitsipas has been recovering from elbow surgery and gets a first chance to test his fitness over the rigours of five sets in the late match on Rod Laver against Mikael Ymer of Sweden.

"Feeling good with my arm," the world number four said at the weekend. "Have recovered very close to 100 percent." Women's second seed Sabalenka endured a torrid build-up to the tournament, falling at the first hurdle in tears in both her warm-up events as her serve disastrously deserted her.

The Belarusian will try to put her problems behind her against world number 128 Storm Sanders, with the Australian sure to enjoy plenty of vociferous support on Rod Laver Arena.

Former world number one Halep has endured a tough couple of years through injury but the two-time Grand Slam champion won her first WTA title in 16 months at an Australian Open warm-up and starts against Magdalena Frech of Poland on Margaret Court Arena.

"Physically I'm in the right place. Confidence is growing," said Halep, who lost in the 2018 Australian Open final to Caroline Wozniacki.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray returns on a wildcard for the first time since an emotional 2019 "farewell" appearance after undergoing career-saving hip surgery.

The 34-year-old Scot, who has been runner-up in the Australian Open five times, starts against 21st-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia on John Cain Arena.