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Australian Open day one: Raducanu makes winning start, Kyrgios withdraws

Australian Open day one: Raducanu makes winning start, Kyrgios withdraws
© Reuters
Emma Raducanu gets off to a winning start while Nick Kyrgios withdraws injured on day one of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

British number one Emma Raducanu made a winning start while Nick Kyrgios withdrew injured on day one of the 2023 Australian Open.

Having managed to battle back from an ankle strain to travel to Melbourne, Raducanu opened her bid for a second Grand Slam crown with a dominant 6-3 6-2 win over Germany's Tamara Korpatsch.

After recovering from an error-strewn start, Raducanu broke six times on the day and recorded an 80% win percentage on the second serve of Korpatsch, who is ranked one place higher than the Briton in 76th.

Speaking on the court after setting up a second-round tie with American second seed Coco Gauff, Raducanu said: "Everything I've done has been quite controlled the last week.

"So I had to test it out in a real match, with the unpredictability and just getting used to it in the beginning. It felt good. You know it's there and if anything, it kind of alleviates any pressure.

"That's because you're, like, I've done so well to get myself onto the court, and my team has done so well. It's a great achievement for all of us."

Rafael Nadal pictured at the Australian Open on January 16, 2023© Reuters

However, Raducanu's compatriot Jack Draper could not pull off a stunning upset of defending champion Rafael Nadal, who took three hours and 40 minutes to prevail 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1.

Draper held well until the 12th game of the match before coming out all guns blazing in the second set, storming into a 4-0 lead and levelling the contest with aplomb.

Physical problems soon began to plague Draper, though, and Nadal swept the rising star aside in a dominant fourth set to advance to round two as he searches for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam crown.

There would be further success for the Brits on day one, though, as Cameron Norrie made it through his first-round contest with Luca Van Assche 7-6[3] 6-0 6-3, and he will face Constant Lestienne in round one.

Harriet Dart was comprehensively beaten 7-5 6-1 by Switzerland's Jil Teichmann, though, while Kyle Edmund's run also came to an early end as he lost 4-6 0-6 2-6 to Italian 15th seed Jannik Sinner.

Nick Kyrgios pictured on January 16, 2023© Reuters

Off the court, meanwhile, home favourite Kyrgios announced his withdrawal on the eve of the tournament due to a knee injury, which he will need an operation on.

The Wimbledon runner-up was due to take on Russia's Roman Safiullin in the first round, but he is now set for a couple of months on the sidelines ahead of a possible return at March's Indian Wells Masters.

"I'm devastated obviously. It's like my home tournament. I've had some great memories here," Kyrgios told the press. "Obviously last year winning the title in doubles and playing the best tennis of my life probably. Then going into this event as one of the favourites, it's brutal."

Elsewhere, there were first-round wins for Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Frances Tiafoe and Australia's Rinky Hijikata, who remarkably came back from two sets down to defeat Germany's Yannick Hanfmann.

Women's number one seed Iga Swiatek comfortably made it through her first-round tie with Jule Niemeier in straight sets, while Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Madison Keys also clinched second-round spots.

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Jack Draper in action at the Canadian Open on August 10, 2022
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