Emma Raducanu recovers from blisters to rumble past Sanders in Stuttgart | Tennis

Emma Raducanu breezed into the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart with a straight-sets victory over Storm Sanders.

Raducanu saw off Australian qualifier Sanders 6-1, 6-2 as she marked her WTA Tour clay-court debut in style.

The 19-year-old, seeded eighth in Stuttgart, showed no discomfort after suffering with a blister on her foot when playing for Great Britain at the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague last weekend.

Raducanu took a short while to find her rhythm as she was taken to deuce on her first two service games. Sanders also won her first service game to love, but it was one-way traffic from then on as Raducanu’s power from the baseline told.

Raducanu dominated some excellent rallies and wrapped up the first set in 30 minutes. It was a similar story in the second after Raducanu’s speed across the court allowed her to reach a Sanders drop shot and break serve on her third attempt.

Sanders stopped Raducanu winning an eighth game in a row by reaching for more power on her serve. But Raducanu, the world No 12, 185 places above Sanders, was in no mood to let her opponent off the hook.

She broke again for a 4-1 lead and her own strong serve ensured that recent difficulties when closing out matches would not be an issue this time.

Raducanu said: “It’s been a good start for me to the clay season, today being my first WTA match on clay. I’m really excited to spend more time on this surface and really happy with my performance today.

“I think my serve [pleased me most]. I was getting a lot of good points from my serve, setting up well and it lasted throughout the entire match. That is an improvement from me.

“It has been difficult to transition to clay. Last week I was being taught how to slide on the clay using a medicine ball. To have come this far in the space of a week I am very happy. It is just about being comfortable with the unstable surface underneath.”

Raducanu will play Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch in the last 16.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has reversed his decision to skip the entire clay-court season after being confirmed as a wildcard entry for the Madrid Open. The 34-year-old had initially considered sitting out all matches on the surface as he plots his course through the rest of 2022.

However, he has changed his plans and will be in action in the Spanish capital next week, with the tournament starting on Tuesday. He could also enter the Italian Open, which begins on 2 May, but remains unlikely to feature at the French Open.

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