Raducanu makes winning start in first round of the Indian Wells Open
Former US Open champion Emma Raducanu enjoyed a winning return to the court on Thursday as she defeated Danka Kovinic 6-2 6-3 in the first round of the Indian Wells Open.
It was the 20-year-old's first match since her second-round exit in January's Australian Open, and she had to respond to some early adversity after Kovinic broke her opening service game.
But the Brit answered right back, rattling off four games in a row to take control of the first set, and the second frame was nearly a carbon copy, falling down 2-0 before putting together five unanswered games of her own.
Meanwhile, world number 31 Danielle Collins – the highest ranked player in the draw to not receive a seed – was a surprise early elimination as Hungary's Dalma Galfi got the better of her 6-4 6-4. As a reward, Galfi will meet world number five Caroline Garcia in the second round.
Nuria Parrizas-Diaz set up an all-Spanish second-round clash with Paula Badosa after beating Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-3 7-5, but fellow Spaniard Rebeka Masarova fell short 4-6 6-4 6-4 against American Peyton Stearns.
It was a great day for the Czech Republic representatives, with Katerina Siniakova earning a 7-5 6-4 over Julie Niemeier, Marketa Vondrousova dominating Rebecca Marino 6-2 6-2, and Karolina Muchova completing the hat-trick against Yulia Putintseva 6-3 4-6 6-4.
As good of a day as it was for the Czechs, it was just as poor for the Italians, with Lucia Bronzetti falling 7-5 4-6 6-3 to Bernarda Pera and Jasmine Paolini eliminated 7-5 6-1 at the hands of Tatjana Maria, joining Cocciaretto on an early flight home.
Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin got past world number 48 Sloane Stephens in their All-American clash, winning 6-4 6-1.
Kenin's ranking has fallen to 170th in the world, but she produced an impressive display to win in one hour and 22 minutes, securing a second-round clash with 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.