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Emma Raducanu to face former US Open champion Sloane Stephens at Wimbledon warm-up in Eastbourne

Emma Raducanu will return to Wimbledon next month after missing last year's contest through injury; Raducanu faces 2018 US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the opening round of the Rothesay International in Eastbourne

Emma Raducanu celebrates her win in Nottingham
Image: Emma Raducanu faces fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the opening round

Emma Raducanu will face fellow former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the first round at Eastbourne next week.

Raducanu is continuing her preparations for Wimbledon, where she has been given a wild card, at the Rothesay International on the south coast.

The 21-year-old will be making her first appearance at Wimbledon in two years, following wrist and ankle surgery last year.

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Emma Raducanu is looking forward to her return to grass after missing last season and is 'super grateful' for being 'so healthy'

Raducanu reached the semi-finals of the Rothesay Open in Nottingham last week before losing out to British No 1 Katie Boulter, having skipped the French Open in order to prepare for the grass-court season.

American Stephens won the US Open in 2018, three years before Raducanu's shock victory.

Fellow Brit Harriet Dart faces Czech world No 23 Marie Bouzkova, while Boulter will meet a qualifier.

Great Britain's Harriet Dart celebrates winning a point against Katie Boulter (not pictured) in the Women's Singles Round 1 match during day one of the Rothesay Open at Lexus Nottingham Tennis Centre, Nottingham. Picture date: Monday June 10, 2024.
Image: Harriet Dart faces Marie Bouzkova in the opening round in Eastbourne

Elena Rybakina, Jessica Pegula, Jasmine Paolini and Madison Keys are the four top seeds and all receive a bye to the second round, with Pegula facing the winner of Raducanu's clash with Stephens.

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Aryna Sabalenka and Ons Jabeur became the latest top-10 players to retire from the Berlin Open due to injury or illness, after former Wimbledon champions Rybakina and Marketa Vondrousova also withdrew this week.

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Victoria Azarenka moves to the semi-finals of the German Open after Elena Rybakina retired after just four games

Sabalenka was forced to retire from her quarter-final against Russia's Anna Kalinskaya due to shoulder pain when the Belarusian trailed 5-1 in the opening set. It marked the first time in her WTA Tour carer that Sabalenka had retired from a match because of injury.

Kalinskaya has reached the semi-finals with two walkovers after Wimbledon champion Vondrousova slipped and fell during their last-16 match, forcing the Czech player to retire.

Jabeur, meanwhile, was involved in a 72-minute opening set in her quarter-final with Coco Gauff, which the American won 7-6(9), before Jabeur was seen getting her temperature checked before she retired.

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Ons Jabeur says it will be 'tough' to return to Wimbledon after her disappointing loss in the final last year but regards it has her 'own paradise'

"It doesn't feel like a win, especially because we had such a great first set. I wish Ons the best," Gauff said after reaching the semi-finals. "I think it's something that's just going to happen today and she'll feel better tomorrow. I think she'll be strong at Wimbledon."

On Friday, Rybakina withdrew due to illness, sending Belarusian Victoria Azarenka through to the semi-finals. Rybakina was visibly struggling with what appeared to be abdominal pains.

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