Emma Raducanu says it’s ‘amazing to be pain-free’ as she marks grand slam return with victory against Shelby Rogers

CNNEmma Raducanu made light work of her first grand slam match in almost a year, defeating Shelby Rogers in the first round of the Australian Open.

The 21-year-old Emma Raducanu endured an injury-plagued year in 2023 after undergoing wrist and ankle surgeries but impressed as she swept past Rogers 6-3 6-2 on Tuesday in just one hour and 16 minutes.

“Being my first slam match back, it is definitely a little bit extra sweet,” Emma Raducanu told reporters. “I knew going in Shelby’s a player with experience. She’s had some great wins in her career … I’m happy with the way I came through that today.”

This was the British star’s third match since returning from injury, and she made a confident start by breaking Rogers’ serve and moving into a 4-1 lead before seeing out the set with a hold to love.

Maintaining her high standard in the second set, Raducanu broke in the first game and consolidated her advantage with a further break at 3-1 when a backhand approach from the American landed in the net.

A forehand winner from Emma Raducanu closed out the set – and the match – to love once again, earning her a second-round meeting with China’s Wang Yafan on Thursday.

Raducanu has battled with form and injuries in the years after she won the US Open as an 18-year-old qualifier in 2021 and has not progressed beyond the second round of a grand slam since then.

“It’s amazing to be pain-free with the wrists. I honestly didn’t know if I’d ever get to this stage,” she said, adding: “I had pain for so long … I think the time away made me very hungry. I’m just happy to be healthy again and pain-free.”

Elsewhere in the women’s draw on Tuesday, world No. 1 Iga Świątek defeated 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin 7-6(7-2) 6-2, while third seed Elena Rybakina also progressed in straight sets, overcoming Karolína Plíšková 7-6(8-6) 6-4.

Jessica Pegula, the top-seeded American at the Australian Open, is looking to produce a deep run at the tournament after reaching the quarterfinals three times in a row. She kicked off her campaign in Melbourne with a 6-2 6-4 win against Canada’s Rebecca Marino.