Eastbourne: Emma Raducanu ousts Slam champ, Karolina Muchova's return starts with win

Raducanu and Muchova off to winning starts on the grass courts of Eastbourne.

by Dzevad Mesic
Eastbourne: Emma Raducanu ousts Slam champ, Karolina Muchova's return starts with win
© Getty Images Sport - Kate Green

Emma Raducanu did extremely well in her Eastbourne debut on Tuesday to safely reach the round-of-16, while 2023 French Open finalist Karolina Muchova also ended on the winning side in her first match in 10 months. 

In a battle between two US Open champions, it was Raducanu who did much better, beating Sloane Stephens with just four lost games 6-4 6-0. 

On paper, it might seem that Raducanu easily beat Stephens. But actually, the 2021 US Open champion was twice down by a break in the first set and could have easily lost the opener. 

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu © Getty Images Sport - Charlie Crowhurst

Meanwhile, Muchova - who was out of action since the US Open due to wrist surgery - was 3-1 up on Elina Avanesyian when the 21-year-old Russian retired the match due to a left thigh issue. 

In the Eastbourne round-of-16, Raducanu plays against No. 2 seed Jessica Pegula while Muchova takes on Magda Linette. 

What exactly happened in the Raducanu and Stephens match?

After not a single break point was seen through the opening four games, the next four games featured breaks of serve as Stephens was twice up by a break but Raducanu twice recovered to level the opener to four games apiece.

In the ninth game, Stephens had two consecutive break points to go up by a break for the third time in the set but Raducanu managed to save those chances and open a 5-4 lead. After blowing two breaks and two break points in the ninth game, the American didn't convert any of her five game points in the 10th game as Raducanu converted her first break point in that game - which at the same time was a set point - to seal the first set.

After losing the first set in a very devastating way, Stephens didn't manage to mentally recover from it as Raducanu bageled the 2017 US Open champion to complete her two-set win in style.

Emma Raducanu Karolina Muchova