Emma Raducanu delights Wimbledon crowd with straight-sets victory over Alison van Uytvanck

US Open winner battles to 6-4, 6-4 win on Centre Court in first round

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Emma Raducanu showed no signs of the injury problems that blighted her Wimbledon build-up as the teenager defeated Alison van Uytvanck in straight sets.

The reigning US Open champion suffered a side strain at the WTA Tour event in Nottingham three weeks ago that put her participation at the grass-court Grand Slam in doubt.

But Raducanu, making her debut on the famous Centre Court at SW19, secured a 6-4, 6-4 victory against her Belgian opponent.

Van Uytvanck is ranked 46th in the world but has a liking for grass having won 12 of her 14 matches on the surface this year, including two second-tier titles.

"I know Alison is a tricky opponent, she has had some great results on grass and I played her last summer and it's really tricky to neutralise that hard serve, she hits the ball really hard," Raducanu said.

"It's an incredibly special feeling to be back at Wimbledon. I felt the support the minute I walked out and walking around the grounds.

"I want to say thank you to everyone who has been here supporting, through the tough times as well, it's all worth it to play on Centre Court and come through with a win.

"I'm extremely pleased to have come through that match and I'm looking forward to coming out and hopefully playing in front of you guys again.

"I've been feeling it [the support] since stepping onto the practice courts, I feel people behind me saying 'Emma, you've got this!' and it makes me think 'yes, I've got this!' It's amazing to walk on these grounds and courts so I'm just so happy to stay another day."

A year ago, Raducanu reached the fourth round as an unknown wild card before going on to win the US Open in one of the most remarkable Grand Slam performances in tennis history.

The teenager did not drop a set in New York, becoming the first British female player to win a Grand Slam singles crown since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977. But she has not won more than two matches at a tournament since.

She will take on France's Caroline Garcia for a place in the last 32.

No 2 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia sailed into the next round with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over the American Bernarda Pera.

Alison Riske became the first player to reach the second round when the 28th-seeded American beat Ylena In-Albon of Switzerland 6-2, 6-4 on Court 10. She will now face Polish qualifier Maja Chwalinska.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 6:08 PM