Gauff 6-3, 6-6* Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Gauff moves to 30-0 before Raducanu thrashes away a volley at the net in impressive style. Then a crunching backhand winner from Raducanu takes it to 30-30. Gauff needs a big serve now and gets one to avoid set point and, despite being on the back foot, wins the next via a Raducanu error. We’re going to a second-set tie-break.
*Gauff 6-3, 5-6 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Raducanu serves a first ace of the match to move 30-0 in front in game 11 and Gauff gives her three chances to close out a 6-5 lead with a rushed forehand. Another Gauff error, this time on the backhand side, and Raducanu has a very easy hold to love. Most welcome at this stage of the game.
Gauff 6-3, 5-5 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
From looking on the brink, Gauff now has to hold serve to avoid losing the set. Raducanu tries to force matters though – perhaps unnecessarily given Gauff’s mistakes – and the American moves to 40-15 without too much sweat. A third double fault hints at a wobble and it’s confirmed by an overhit groundstroke that goes long. Deuce. Yet another Gauff mistake gives Raducanu set point but the Brit is too eager and launches a backhand long. A brilliant return secures a second set point but, agonizingly, an ambitious drop shot catches the top of the net and falls back on its own side. Gauff’s forehand has turned to putty all of a sudden and Raducanu then saves two game points as the deuce count racks up. Gauff gets rid of some frustration with an easy smash and a heavy serve finally secures the game and 5-5. So close for Raducanu but Gauff somehow came through.
*Gauff 6-3, 4-5 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Raducanu drops the first point of her service game but twirls a backhand into the corner for 15-15 and moves to 30-15 with a backhand volley at the net. And perhaps there are signs that her service speed is picking up too. Gauff dumps another forehand into the net and then goes long and Raducanu has now won three games in a row. She’s back in the match; the momentum is turning.
Gauff 6-3, 4-4 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu breaks! Raducanu is hanging in there but needs a break, and fast. And could this be a chance. She goes on the attack and a backhand winner from a Gauff slice takes the Brit to 0-30. A Gauff double fault and it’s 0-40. Three breakpoints! And she only needs one as Gauff, looking tight, drives a forehand into the net. All square at 4-4 in the second.
*Gauff 6-3, 4-3 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Raducanu may have trouble on her serve but she can still swing freely from the ground and that helps her take a 30- 0 lead. Gauff’s lob briefly changes the momentum but the American goes wide to slip 15-40 down. The seventh seed smashes a forehand winner but, somewhat carelessly, loops out a backhand to give Raducanu the hold.
Gauff 6-3, 4-2 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
A little clenched fist from Raducanu as she takes the opening point of Gauff’s serve but hopes of 0-30 are ended by a forehand into the net. Gauff slams down her second ace of the match, clubs another heavy serve for 40-15 and completes the triple whammy with another ace.
*Gauff 6-3, 3-2 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Something is definitely up with Raducanu’s stomach and it continues to reduce her service power. She loses the first point but levels at 15-15 with a drop shot from out of the blue. Gauff, surprisingly, twangs a backhand well wide and Raducanu turns on the power with a series of heavy groundstrokes to reach 40-15. Gauff’s service return goes long and that’s game. Raducanu is still a break down though in this second set.
Gauff 6-3, 3-1 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Gauff is sensing the kill you feel and rushes Raducanu into a mistake in the opening point of game four. A bouncing second serve again forces Raducanu to rather lash at the ball and the forehand goes wide. Two more straightforward points and it’s perhaps the easiest hold of the match.
*Gauff 6-3, 2-1 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Both players have upped their levels and Raducanu is making more mistakes as she’s forced into finding even higher gears. It’s taking a toll and a lame double fault gives Gauff three break points. Raducanu shows fight by winning the next two and but it’s apparent that she’s pressing her stomach from time to time as if there’s a problem. It’s perhaps having an effect on her serve which is lacking power and another double gives Gauff the break.
Gauff 6-3, 1-1 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
A bit of fortune with a net cord and a series of driving groundstrokes, eventually forcing a Gauff mistake, take Raducanu to 30-30. But the American has power and wellies a backhand crosscourt which is just too lively. Then another fierce rally, Raducanu eventually blinking first and hammering a backhand into the net. Gauff holds for 1-1.
*Gauff 6-3, 0-0 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Holding serve is imperative for Raducanu in this opening game of set two and she swiftly moves to 40-0 after another wrong-footing forehand. Gauff finds the net and that’ll do.
Gauff 6-3 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Gauff takes the first two points but Raducanu’s fierce forehand has the American scrambling: 30-15. Gauff puts her hand to her mouth in semi-shock as she makes an unforced error for 30-30 and another goes long to give Raducanu a break point. Gauff saves it with a crosscourt backhand, prompting a shout of “come on”, and she repeats the cry after holding off another. Raducanu claims a third break point by ending the best rally of the match with a forehand down the line but Gauff’s big serve keeps the Brit at bay once again. Raducanu’s fearless return denies Gauff a first set point but Guaff’s serving is just too heavy and the American deservedly wraps up the first set.
*Gauff 5-3 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Not exactly a packed crowd on Rod Laver tonight although a few are wandering back in now. Raducanu has to hold to stay in this first set and wins the first point as Gauff goes long with a backhand. Raducanu is still going after her shots and has Gauff on the runaround before putting away a wrong-footing backhand for 30-0. This is better! Another backhand winner moves Raducanu to 40-0 before Gauff clubs a forehand at high speed for one of his own. But this is Raducanu’s game and Gauff finds the net on the next point as Raducanu holds to 15.
Gauff 5-2 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu whips away a backhand crosscourt winner to secure 15-30 and sniffs a second straight break back. But there are just too many errors creeping in from the Brit and Gauff isn’t having to work as hard as she might for points. The American wins the next three and moves 5-2 in front.
*Gauff 4-2 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
A third straight break! Great reactions at the net from Gauff after Raducanu drives at her body and, boosted, the American moves to 0-30. Pressure on the Raducanu serve once again. Gaugh senses a kill and for a fourth successive game we have break points. Raducanu has two to save but can only manage one as her forehand loops just too long at 30-40.
Gauff 3-2 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu breaks back! Raducanu shows her fighting qualities and moves to 0-30 with a forehand at the net and a high looping backhand volley which Gauff can’t quite believe lands in. Can she break back immediately? Gauff’s heavy serving and huge backhand help her win the next three points but she drives a forehand volley into the net for deuce. Raducanu secures a break point that Gauff does well to dodge but the Brit’s aggression forces the American to double fault on the next.
*Gauff 3-1 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
Gauff breaks! The seventh seed’s backhand really is a weapon and it’s starting to do damage now. It helps the American race to 0-40 and on the cusp of the first break. Gauff dumps a forehand into the net but Raducanu rushes a backhand and loses her serve to 15.
Rafael Nadal is out! Yes, we’ve already had drama today with the men’s top seed and defending champion falling in straight sets to Mackenzie McDonald. Tumaini Carayol was at Melbourne Park to see Nadal’s body betray him once more.
Gauff 1-2 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Gauff’s forehand is her slightly weaker side and two unforced errors give Raducanu a 30-15 advantage before she secures two break points with a fierce drive down the line. Gauff survives the first with an ace before a clever, bouncing second serve into Raducanu’s body takes game three to deuce. Gauff wins the next two points, closing out with a heavy serve that Raducanu can’t deal with. 2-1 to the American in the opener.
*Gauff 1-1 Raducanu (*denotes next server)
A rather wild double fault makes it an inauspicious start for Raducanu in her opening service game and Gauff gets to 0-30 before a heavy second serve from the 2021 US Open champion secures 15-30. From there, Raducanu starts to unleash, winning the next four points to level at 1-1.
Gauff 1-0 Raducanu* (*denotes next server)
Raducanu wins the toss and chooses to receive first. Both players unleash punchy groundstrokes in a lively opening rally before Raducanu finds the net. The Gauff serve is quick and accurate and the American takes the opening game comfortably for just the loss of a point.
Gauff and Raducanu are now hitting up. For some context, the American is favorite with the bookies but we don’t have much head-to-head form to go on. In fact there is none. Raducanu and Gauff have never even practiced together never mind played a competitive match.
Good morning/evening! It’s just gone 8am UK time and 7pm Melbourne time and we’re not far away from Emma Raducanu’s second-round match against seventh seed Coco Gauff. Indeed, as I write, they’re walking into the Rod Laver Era. Raducanu has strapping on her left ankle but she’s played down that injury ahead of the match. We’ve already had drama on day three which we’ll get to shortly. OK, let’s go!