Two former US Open champions, 2019 titlist Bianca Andreescu and 2021 victor Emma Raducanu, came into the 2023 Australian Open unseeded and seeking more Grand Slam magic.
More from Day 1:
- Azarenka embracing life as a part-time soccer mom
- Pegula staying in the zone by hitting with Tiafoe, staying relaxed
- Gauff, Collins advance to Round 2
- Sakkari, Azarenka, Kvitova, Keys roll into Round 2
- Day 1 by the numbers
The opening round could not have gone much better for both of them, as they both picked up routine straight-sets victories to start the Grand Slam season. Here are takeaways from their wins:
Raducanu aggressive game pays off: Great Britain's Raducanu faced Germany's Tamara Korpatsch on Monday, where Korpatsch was aiming for the first Grand Slam main-draw victory of her career.
Despite the great disparity between their Grand Slam successes, only one ranking spot separated 77th-ranked Raducanu from the higher-placed Korpatsch, ranked World No.76. Moreover, Raducanu suffered an ankle injury in her second-round match in Auckland less than two weeks ago.
But these issues proved to be of no concern for 20-year-old Raducanu as she eased past her 27-year-old opponent 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour and 25 minutes. Sturdy groundstrokes reminiscent of her run to the US Open title helped Raducanu improve to 2-0 against Korpatsch.
"I think that my forehand is a real weapon of mine," Raducanu said to the press, after her win. "It's going to take some fine-tuning, but going forward I really see myself loving that side and I really do. I think just at the moment I'm swinging more freely in general, and yeah, it probably shows in my forehand maybe."
The Brit had 27 winners to Korpatsch's 10 on the day. Cracking returns with confidence, Raducanu won 80 percent of points replying to the Korpatsch second service, leading to six breaks.
Andreescu net play stellar: Similarly, Andreescu's forward-thinking maneuvers paid off in her opener. Finding superb volleys at the end of rallies, the Canadian upset No.25 seed Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 in 1 hour and 41 minutes.
Andreescu made 18 forays into the net and won 15 of them (83 percent), picking up her third win in four meetings against 2022 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Bouzkova.
"Marie did pose a challenge, but I'm just very grateful with how I dealt with that challenge," Andreescu said in her post-match press conference. "I was very focused from A to Z, and that's how I want to play every match basically, so hopefully I can keep the momentum."
Gauff next for Raducanu: As they are both unseeded, Raducanu and Andreescu will continue to be disruptors in the star-studded top half of the draw.
Most notably, Raducanu will jump directly into a hotly anticipated second-round clash with No.7 seed Coco Gauff, who ousted WTA Doubles World No.1 Katerina Siniakova on Monday.
The two young stars have never met, and it will be intriguing to see if Raducanu can maintain her aggressive mindset against the superlative serves and speed of Gauff.
"Coco has obviously done a lot of great things and she's playing well," Raducanu said. "I'm just looking forward to the matchup. I think we're both good, young players, we're both coming through. Part of the next generation of tennis really. Yeah, it's going to be a great match."
Andreescu will take on qualifier Cristina Bucsa for the first time in the second round, and if she can get through that, a third-round match with World No.1 Iga Swiatek is a distinct possibility.
If they meet for the second time (Swiatek leads the head-to-head 1-0), Andreescu could try to rush the top seed with more pinpoint volleying.