Australian Open: Emma Raducanu’s streak ends, still advances

2022 Australian Open: Day 2
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Emma Raducanu saw her sets-won streak at majors snapped at 21, but hung on to win in her Australian Open debut.

Raducanu, who at the U.S. Open became the first qualifier to win a major, beat 2017 U.S. Open champ Sloane Stephens 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 to make the second round in Melbourne.

Raducanu rolled Stephens in a 17-minute first set, dropping just four points. She was broken three times in the second set before prevailing in the first three-set Grand Slam match of her career.

“2022 is all about learning for me,” Raducanu, 19, said. “Winning a set and then having to fight in a decider is definitely just all just accumulating into a bank of experience that I can tap into later on down the line.”


Last summer, the Brit Raducanu won all 20 sets between qualifying and the main draw en route to the U.S. Open title in just her second Grand Slam main draw. Raducanu then changed coaches and went 2-4 in six matches between the U.S. Open and Australian Open, the most recent a 6-0, 6-1 defeat to Elena Rybakina last week.

She gets 98th-ranked Danka Kovinic of Montenegro in round two and could face Simona Halep, a French Open and Wimbledon champion, in the third round.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez lost her Australian Open first-round match. Maddison Inglis, the 133rd-ranked Australian, upset the Canadian 6-4, 6-2.

“We had a good preseason. We worked hard. We improved my tennis game,” said Fernandez, who had eight winners to 30 unforced errors. “Unfortunately it did not show today.”

Also Tuesday, Andy Murray took out No. 21 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in Murray’s first Australian Open match since a premature retirement tribute at the tournament in 2019.

No. 8 seed Casper Ruud withdrew with an ankle injury before his first-round match, opening up Murray’s section of the draw. Murray gets 120th-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan next and potentially 11th-seeded Italian Jannik Sinner in the third round.

The men’s and women’s No. 2 seeds had different days.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the favorite after Novak Djokovic was deported, swept Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (3) to reach a second-round date with Aussie Nick Kyrgios.

Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, who struggled serving leading into the tournament, had 12 double faults in her first round but still rallied past 128th-ranked Australian Storm Sanders 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Major champions Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova were bounced from the women’s draw.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight


Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen

Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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