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Raducanu eases past Stephens on Eastbourne grass

Emma Raducanu breezed past Sloane Stephens with a 6-4, 6-0 victory to progress into the second round of the Eastbourne International on Tuesday, in a clash between former US Open champions.

British number one Katie Boulter, who recently defended her Nottingham Open title, defeated Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-1, 7-6 (10/8).

Raducanu initially faced early setbacks, being broken twice in the first set, but she rebounded strongly in the second set to set up a second-round encounter with world number five Jessica Pegula.

Raducanu, who achieved a stunning US Open victory in 2021 but has since dropped to 168th in the world due to injuries, returned to form recently with a semi-final appearance in Nottingham.

“For me, it was about adjusting to the court,” said Raducanu, who received a wild card for Wimbledon starting on July 1. “I’ve never played in Eastbourne, never on this center court, and every court plays a bit differently. Initially, I was figuring out the best way to play and use my strengths.”

Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, took an early lead with a break for a 3-2 advantage but struggled to maintain momentum, ultimately losing the match after Raducanu broke her serve three times, securing the first set and dominating the second.

Meanwhile, Boulter faced a tough challenge against Martic, bouncing back from a 5-1 deficit in the second-set tiebreak to secure her victory and advance to face Jelena Ostapenko in the next round.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Elise Mertens defeated Yuriko Miyazaki 6-1, 6-2, while Ashlyn Krueger overcame Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5.

In men’s action, Britain’s Cameron Norrie continued to struggle, losing his first-round match to Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (11/9), 6-3, while Thiago Seyboth Wild defeated James McCabe 6-4, 6-4 to set up a second-round clash with top seed Taylor Fritz.

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