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Emma Raducanu may find it tough to go all the way in Melbourne
  1. Tennis
  2. Australian Open

Australian Open: Emma Raducanu faces tough Melbourne battle

British ace Emma Raducanu burst onto the scene back in 2021, defying all expectations to win the US Open, but has since struggled to make an impact on the WTA Tour.

But a new year brings with it renewed hope for the 20-year-old, who is 80/1 To Win Outright at the season's first Grand Slam - the Australian Open.

Here is a look at how the draw could unfold for the Briton, who has never previously gone beyond the second round in Melbourne.

What2023 Australian Open Women
WhereMelbourne, Australia
WhenMonday 16th January - Saturday 29th January
How to watchEurosport & Discovery+
OddsIga Swiatek 21/10, Aryna Sabalenka 13/2, Jessica Pegula 10/1, Caroline Garcia 12/1

Raducanu dealt a decent first-round draw

In many ways, merely appearing at the Australian Open this year will be a success for Raducanu, who was in floods of tears earlier in the month when having to retire from the ASB Classic due to an ankle injury.

However, it looks as though the 20-year-old has overcome it in time to feature in Melbourne and first up for her will be unseeded German Tamara Korpatsch.

Raducanu cannot have too many complaints about that draw with Korpatsch (74th), who is appearing in the Australian Open first round for the first time in her career, only one place higher than Raducanu (75th) in the WTA rankings.

The pair have met only once before with Raducanu prevailing in three sets in Stuttgart last April.

Injury has meant Raducanu's preparations for the Australian Open have been limited but she did at least pick up a 4-6 6-4 6-2 victory over Linda Fruhvirtova in her ASB Classic opener earlier this month.

She is 1/6 To Win Match against Korpatsch, who can be backed at 4/1 to come out on top.

Gauff could trouble Raducanu in second round

Unsurprisingly, things would go up a gear for Raducanu in the second round in Melbourne with seventh seed Coco Gauff - arguably the best player in her quarter - likely to be her second opponent of the tournament.

Gauff enjoyed a decent 2022, making the quarter-finals of the US Open and the final of the French Open but has typically struggled in Melbourne with her run to the quarter-finals in 2020 her best Australian Open performance to date.

That said, Gauff made a strong start to the new season by claiming the ASB Classic title recently, having won all five of her matches in straight sets.

Gauff, 12/1 To Win Outright the Australian Open, begins her campaign against Czech Republic's Katerina Siniakova and is 2/7 To Win Match.

Given her price in that encounter and the fact Raducanu is expected to get the better of Korpatsch, the second round looks the most likely stage of elimination for Great Britain's best hope in the women's draw.

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Rest of section looks favourable for Raducanu

If Raducanu can pull off a shock against Gauff in the second round, though, things will get a bit easier, at least until the quarter-finals.

In the third round, the highest-rated player Raducanu could face is 29th seed Qinwen Zhang of China, while other potential opponents are Hungarian Dalma Galfi, American Bernarda Pera and Japanese wildcard entry Moyuka Uchijima.

And after that, the main dangers on the list of potential fourth-round opponents are Spain's Paula Badosa, who is seeded 11th, and 17th seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Raducanu must get past super Swiatek in tricky half to land final spot

Raducanu finds herself in arguably the tougher half of the draw - the top half - at the Australian Open this year.

If Raducanu were to go on a run, standing between her and a spot in the final would be Iga Swiatek.

Swiatek was undoubtedly the dominant force on the WTA tour last year, claiming both the French Open and US Open titles, and at one stage putting together a 37-match unbeaten run.

Her breakthrough campaign began with a run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open and, with a renewed confidence about her, she is expected to go well again in Melbourne and is 21/10 To Win Outright.

Anyone, including Raducanu, who manages to get past Swiatek stands a very good chance of going the distance Down Under.

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