EASTBOURNE, England -- Emma Raducanu advanced to the second round of the Rothesay International after defeating Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0 in the first round on Tuesday. Raducanu prevailed in the battle of US Open champions by coming from a break down twice in the first set to improve to 2-0 over the American. 

Eastbourne: Scores | Schedule | Draws

The victory sets up a marquee second-round match against Berlin champion and World No.5 Jessica Pegula. It will be Raducanu's second meeting against Pegula, with the American winning their first on hard court at 2022 Cincinnati. 

After skipping the majority of the European clay season, including Roland Garros, Raducanu has enjoyed a resurgent start to her grass season. She began by making the semifinals at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham two weeks ago. Speaking to reporters before her Eastbourne debut, Raducanu spoke of feeling buoyant and rejuvenated on and off the court after getting a "fresh start" ahead of the grass. 


Facing Stephens for the first time since 2022 Australian Open, Raducanu was made to battle in the first set before racing away with the match. 

"I think for me it was the case of adapting to the court. I've never played in Eastbourne, I've never played on this Centre Court and every court plays a little bit differently. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out what was the best way for me to play and use my game."

Stephens came into the match looking for her first win in Eastbourne in nine years. Her best result at Devonshire Park came with a semifinal run in 2015. Looking for her first win of the grass season, Stephens broke first for a 3-2 lead but could not hold serve for the remainder of the match. Raducanu stayed patient and opportunistic from the baseline and, after saving two break points to hold to 5-4, broke Stephens for a third time to seal the first set and sprint to the finish line. 

"I think especially here in Eastbourne, maybe because the courts are fresh and very new, it is slower than Nottingham, for example," Raducanu told reporters. "So I think me coming here, I really needed to adjust, because it dies on the courts and it gets very heavy, even after one or two games compared to the other tournaments' three or four."

Raducanu finished with 23 winners to 13 unforced errors. Stephens struck 11 winners to 15 unforced errors.

After the match, Raducanu signed "My own pace" on the camera.

"I think at one point I was chasing, playing too many tournaments when I wasn't ready, and then I was just picking up niggle after niggle in every tournament," Raducanu said, "because I never really gave myself any time to do the training and the work. I think that's something I did a lot better this year.

"Even though I might get challenged or questioned for not playing certain tournaments like the French Open or the Olympics, I think that for me, that is just part of it. Doing things at my own speed and doing things how I want to rather than how everyone else thinks is best for me, because ultimately me and the close few people around me just only know what is actually best for me and my game."