Grand Slam fever grips tennis followers all around the world because the 2023 Australian Open kicks off. For the subsequent fortnight, The Indian Specific will deliver you the most important storylines of the day, and the very best matches to look at at timings appropriate for Indian audiences, each morning.
(7) Coco Gauff vs Emma Raducanu (Spherical of 64)
1.30pm, Rod Laver Enviornment
When she defeated one of many best gamers of all-time, on one of the vital storied courts on the age of 15, Coco Gauff couldn’t assist however be labelled a protégé.
When she turned the primary qualifier within the historical past of Grand Slam singles tennis to win a Main title, on the age of 18, Emma Raducanu couldn’t assist however be labelled as a protégé.
On the Australian Open on Wednesday, the 2 extremely standard children will face-off in a second-round match that the WTA Tour will hope blossoms right into a aggressive and thrilling rivalry.
Gauff has been the steadier of the 2, matching her gradual progress with fast enhancements to her recreation. The 19-year-old has lengthy been touted to be the subsequent undisputed nice of American tennis, within the footsteps of the Williams sisters after beating Venus in a well-known run to the fourth spherical at Wimbledon 2019.
A just lately topped World No. 1 doubles participant, Gauff’s trajectory from prime 100 breakthrough, to first WTA title, to prime 25 breakthrough, to first Grand Slam remaining eventually yr’s French Open, has been simply gradual sufficient for her to enhance her stage and psychological sharpness.
Raducanu was not in a position to afford the identical luxurious. Regardless of taking part in a number of promising matches at Wimbledon that yr, no person might have predicted what was to return. The absurdity of the circumstances of her 2021 US Open triumph – after admitting she merely hoped to get out of qualifying – catapulted her into in a single day fame and a focus. She has turn into one of the vital well-known tennis gamers within the UK’s historical past, one of the vital recognisable faces in girls’s tennis, and a world movie star.
Her tennis – not completely shocking since she had not even performed a full yr on tour by the point she was a Grand Slam champion – has didn’t sustain along with her fame. She has educated with at the least 4 completely different coaches in simply the final eighteen months, had a number of bodily issues, and even when issues are going her manner, her stage of tennis has paled compared to among the prime gamers on tour.
Gauff, alternatively, has had a a lot simpler time in forming her recreation. She arrives in Melbourne as a legit title contender, after profitable the tune-up occasion in Auckland with out dropping a set. Her highly effective serve and backhand mixture have been growing technically, whereas the most important enchancment is her problem-solving expertise, in a position to have the presence of thoughts to make small tweaks that may make a distinction. She is much from being the very best she could be, however is evidently on her option to getting there.
Raducanu, alternatively, is but to seek out her footing on the professional tour. Her strengths aren’t as clearcut, regardless of having a stable backhand that might create some memorable crosscourt rallies with Gauff on Wednesday. She’s adept on the baseline exchanges, and boasts of pure energy, however is but to rework both into an indicator, or develop different components of her recreation to make it well-rounded.
The intrigue of the duo’s upcoming encounter doesn’t essentially rise from a possible blockbuster – rating and up to date outcomes are each closely on the aspect of Gauff – however from the magnitude of their star energy that’s evident when each prime seeds – Rafael Nadal and Iga Swiatek – have been scheduled to play the day session as they take the primary match of the evening session on the Rod Laver Enviornment.
Barring any main lapses or a rare Raducanu efficiency, count on Gauff to be in management. However these concerned in girls’s tennis will hope that even when the match doesn’t reside as much as the billing, the rivalry, particularly in a post-Serena Williams world, finally does.