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Emma brings it home – British No 1 tops Van Uytvanck in Centre Court debut

Emma Raducanu passed a difficult test with flying colours on her Centre Court debut.

Emma Raducanu Wimbledon 2022 Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 27, 2022 Britain’s Emma Raducanu celebrates winning her first round match against Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck || © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Wimbledon 2022 | Draw | Order of play

Coming into Wimbledon shrouded in an injury cloud, Emma Raducanu erased many doubts about her Wimbledon form and fitness on Monday as she eased past Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-4, 6-4 on her Centre Court debut.

“I know Alison is an extremely tricky opponent,” Raducanu said of the 28-year-old world No 46 after her triumph. “She’s had some great results on grass recently. … she hits the ball really hard – it’s tough.”

Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the 2021 US Open, will face France’s Caroline Garcia in the second round.

Many had doubts that she’d find herself in this situation, given the injury difficulties she has faced this summer.

The 19-year-old had only spent 35 minutes on court during the grass-court season after she strained an abdominal muscle during her first-round match with Viktorija Golubic in Nottingham two weeks ago. She retired after just seven games, leaving her Wimbledon campaign in doubt, and when she cancelled a practice on Friday with Garbine Mugruza at SW19, rumours swirled that she may have to pull out.

Happy to stay at Wimbledon for another round

Raducanu turned up on Monday, on a mission to prove that she is in fine fettle.

“I definitely feel that because I didn’t play tennis for two weeks, then this week I’ve hit like an hour a day, my preparation wasn’t necessarily the greatest,” Raducanu said. “But I know that when it comes to the matches, I feel like I really especially switch on. I don’t feel like I need massive amount of preparation.”

Facing the hard-hitting Van Uytvanck, a former Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Raducanu stole away with the final two games of the opening set then rallied from a break down in the second, winning five of the final six games to improve to 5-0 in first-round matches at the Grand Slams, and 13-3 overall.

Raducanu was ranked 338 at Wimbledon last year before she began a remarkable summer that saw her reach the round of 16 in London before winning her maiden major title at the US Open in New York.

It was tennis jet-setting at an unprecedented level.

On Monday she was focused firmly on the present, and basking in the glory of her first Centre Court victory.

“To come and play here it’s extremely special,” 11th-ranked Raducanu said with a beaming smile. “This club itself, it’s just amazing to walk on these grounds and these courts so yes, I’m just so happy to stay another day.”

Seeds who lost on Monday (1st round)

Collins (7), Trevisan (22), Haddad Maria (23), Kanepi (31)

Seeds who won on Monday (1st round)

Kontaveit (2), Jabeur (3), Raducanu (10), Kerber (15), Mertens (24), Cirstea (26), Riske (28), Kalinina (29)

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