Emma Raducanu can view the 2022 Australian Open as a success if she reaches the third round, according to former British No. 1 Johanna Konta.
The Brit has enjoyed a meteoric rise after her stunning run to the US Open title in September, which saw her come through qualifying and reel off 10 straight matches without dropping a set.
It is therefore easy to forget that she is still just 19 and only made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon last year.
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The world No. 18 came through her opening match in Melbourne against 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in three sets, having experienced a patchy run of form since her New York triumph.
“I think a win like that is really important, especially for her and where she is in her career,” Konta said in Eurosport’s Cube.
“She’s still very young and gaining experience. Although she has such a massive title against her name she hasn’t played a lot of matches on tour and hasn’t played a full season on tour.
“So the more of these matches that she has, the more she will get to know herself as a player, and also know the other players and how to play them.
“For her to have a three-set match like this really sets up her to know she can come through tough situations and that will help her throughout this tournament.”
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Highlights: Raducanu into second round after beating Stephens
Raducanu is projected to face Simona Halep in the third round in Melbourne, should both women come through their tests on Thursday. Raducanu will face Montenegrin world No. 98 Danka Kovinic in the night session on Margaret Court Arena (08:00 GMT), while Halep is last on Rod Laver Arena against Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Remarkably, Raducanu is yet to face a player inside the WTA top 10 in her career, having seen off just two seeds on the path to victory at Flushing Meadows last year.
Halep is a two-time Grand Slam champion and while she has slipped to 15th in the world, she is former No. 1 who possesses serious pedigree on the big stage.
“She hasn’t faced a really top-ranked player before so I think it will be great for her to play someone who knows how to compete well, who knows how to play on these courts well,” continued Konta.
“I would definitely say to her to trust her instincts and to really bring her game to the court.”
Raducanu was fired a warning by first round opponent Stephens after their clash, with the American telling her she has “a lot to learn”, but Konta says expectations do not need to weigh heavily on the youngster’s shoulders.
“Obviously she’s been to the latter stages of a Grand Slam in her second ever Grand Slam, which is unheard of. It’s never happened before, unlikely it will ever happen again,” said Konta.
“It’s a really interesting position that she’s in. However she’s going to be learning on the ground about working her way through draws. For me, a successful Slam for her would be to make it to the third round and to have that match-up with Simona.
“Each tough match she gets to play is going to do her so much good in the long run.”
Raducanu on her aims - You don't talk about players who just make semi-finals
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