Emma Raducanu gains entry into Australian Open without having to go through qualifying after another withdrawal elsewhere; watch Raducanu play second match of her comeback against Elina Svitolina in Auckland from 5.30am on Thursday morning on Sky Sports Main Event
Wednesday 3 January 2024 07:13, UK
Emma Raducanu moved into the main draw of the Australian Open after American Lauren Davis pulled out of the year's first Grand Slam with a shoulder injury, organisers said on Wednesday.
Raducanu, who beat Elena-Gabriela Ruse at the ASB Classic in Auckland on Tuesday in her return to action following wrist and ankle surgeries, has slipped to No 301 in the world and her protected ranking was not good enough for direct entry to the year's opening Grand Slam in Melbourne.
The 21-year-old Briton was also overlooked for a wildcard and was set to take a similar path as her 2021 Flushing Meadows run when she became the first player in the Open Era to win a major after starting out in the qualifying rounds.
However, the exit of Davis, which followed withdrawals by Karolina Muchova, Petra Kvitova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Caty McNally, opened up a spot for Raducanu in the main draw.
The Australian Open starts on January 14.
Knowing she no longer has to enter qualifying next week for the Melbourne Park event, Raducanu now focuses on her last-16 tie in Auckland against second seed Elina Svitolina on Thursday, which is live on Sky Sports Main Event, with the players not due on court before 5.30am.
The 21-year-old Briton said she was "in shock" after making a winning return to competitive tennis on Tuesday after eight months out with injuries.
Raducanu came through a hard-fought contest with Romania's Elena-Gabriela Ruse to win 6-3 4-6 7-5 at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
"It's a weird one, I didn't really know what I felt during or at the end of the match," Raducanu told Sky Sports.
"Usually you have such a clear emotion, whether that's nerves, whether that's happiness - I think I was just a bit like, just struck and just a bit in shock really because eight months is a long time.
"I mean, I've really been through it, so it's just great to be healthy and to be on the court and competing again."
Raducanu vs Svitolina will be on Sky Sports Main Event on Thursday morning from 5.30am. Stream tennis on Sky Sports without a contract through NOW