Blockbuster draw for Emma Raducanu as she prepares for Rome debut

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu

US Open champions past and present will meet at BNL d’Italia in Rome after current champion Emma Raducanu was drawn against 2019 winner Bianca Andreescu.

Raducanu has turned in some impressive performances on clay in the last few weeks, winning her first match in the Billie Jean King Cup for Great Britain last month and backing it up with mini-runs in Stuttgart and Madrid.

The teenager admitted she was struggling with a back problem after her defeat against Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in the Spanish capital, but she vowed to travel to Rome in an attempt to play in another WTA 1000 event in Rome.

“I’m not sure what I will do yet, whether I will go home yet or straight to Rome. The plan right now is to still go to Rome,” she said after her defeat in Madrid.

“I’m not sure when I start. Maybe Monday or Tuesday. I hope it’s enough time because it would be a real shame to miss it.

“I’m feeling pretty positive. A lot of the time with me it’s just overload and then two or three days’ complete rest and I’m OK to start training again.”

Now she has been handed an enticing match against Andreescu, who enjoyed rapid rise similar to her own after she stunned the tennis world by winning the US Open three years ago.

The player who emerges victorious from this section of the draw could meet No.5 seed Anett Kontaveit in the Round of 16.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek is making her return after missing the Madrid Open due to injury and she will face the winner of an all-American match between Shelby Rogers and Alison Riske. Swiatek could face 2013 Rome runner-up Victoria Azarenka in the Round of 16.

2020 Rome champion Simona Halep, who has won nine singles titles on clay will face Alizé Cornet in the first round in a 2022 Australian Open rematch.