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Emma Raducanu on course for Iga Swiatek meeting after Angelique Kerber thrashing

Raducanu on course for Swiatek meeting after Kerber thrashing
© Reuters
Emma Raducanu continues her exceptional form with a brilliant 6-2 6-1 win over Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Stuttgart Open.

Emma Raducanu's bid for Stuttgart Open stardom began with an emphatic victory over Angelique Kerber in Wednesday's first-round match.

The 2021 US Open champion - entering the competition as a wild card - needed just one hour and 24 minutes to prevail 6-2 6-1, following up her successful exploits from the Billie Jean King Cup qualifiers.

Following her withdrawal from the Miami Open, Raducanu led GB to the BJK Cup finals with statement wins over Diane Parry and Caroline Garcia, coming back from a set down on both occasions.

However, the former British number one did not need to harness her powers of recovery this time around, coming up trumps in a battle of the former Grand Slam winners against three-time major champion Kerber.

After the pair shared breaks in the first two games of the match, the relentless Raducanu quickly assumed control and benefitted from frequent double faults from her German foe, playing her first match since the Miami Open.

The second set began in identical fashion to the first, where Raducanu immediately lost serve after breaking Kerber in the opener, but as was the case moments beforehand, she recovered from that minor setback exceptionally.

Kerber errors costly against ruthless Raducanu

As Kerber failed to cut out the double faults and racked up several unforced mistakes, Raducanu took full advantage with a five-game winning sequence, taking her first match point as the German netted a forehand.

While both competitors amassed 26 winners in the first-round contest, Kerber was left to rue 29 unforced errors, while Raducanu racked up just 11 in that regard as she progressed to meet Linda Noskova in round two.

Speaking on the court after her decimation of the former Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon winner, the 21-year-old said: "It was very difficult to play Angie. She has so much history behind her.

"You're not just playing Angie Kerber. You're playing the person who achieved all those amazing results... I'm just happy to have gotten through that."

Should Raducanu keep her momentum going with a second-round success over Noskova, the world number 303 could take on Iga Swiatek - who faces Elise Mertens in the last 16 - in the quarter-finals.

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal's comeback tournament at the Barcelona Open came to a swift end with a second-round loss to Australia's Alex de Minaur, but Jack Draper enjoyed success in Munich with a comeback triumph over Rudolf Molleker.

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