Emma Raducanu is one of a record four former grand slam champions to get wild cards into the women's singles draw at Wimbledon.

Raducanu missed most of last year, including Wimbledon, after being forced to undergo wrist and ankle surgeries.

The 2021 US Open champion has slipped to 165th in the WTA rankings after enduring a difficult few years, and she was beaten by fellow Brit and eventual champion Katie Boulter in the Nottingham Open semi-finals on Sunday.

Raducanu is one of an unprecedented four former major champions to be handed wild cards for the women's draw by the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, who won the 2018 edition of Wimbledon, have all been granted entry.

All seven wild cards for the men's singles draw, meanwhile, have gone to British players, Liam Broady chief among them.

The third grand slam of 2024 gets under way on July 1, with the women's singles final being held on July 13 and the men's showpiece taking place the following day.

Two-time Italian Open champion Iga Swiatek advanced to the quarter-finals of this year's tournament with an impressive 7-5 6-3 win over Angelique Kerber on Monday.

Three-time grand slam winner Kerber provided Swiatek with a real step up after routine victories over Bernarda Pera and Yulia Putintseva in the first two rounds on the clay in Rome.

Kerber responded to Swiatek's first break – which came in the eighth game – with one of her own, but the world number one then recaptured her composure to force a series of break points in Kerber's next two service games, finally converting at the eighth attempt to take the opener. 

Kerber refused to go away, breaking straight back in the first game of the second set, but Swiatek upped her game to take the contest away from the 36-year-old.

Swiatek dropped just three further points on her own serve from there, adding three breaks of her own to set up a last-eight meeting with Madison Keys for Tuesday. 

Data Debrief: Swiatek unmatched on clay

While Kerber rolled back the years to trouble Swiatek early on, she lacked the staying power to live with the world number one in longer rallies on a surface where she is truly unmatched. 

Her win ratio at clay-court events at WTA 1000-level now stands at 88.2 per cent (30 wins, four defeats), the best of any player to have played a minimum of five matches since the format's 2009 introduction, ahead of Serena Williams at 88 per cent. 

Iga Swiatek progressed to the fourth round of the Italian Open by overcoming Yulia Putintseva on Saturday, fighting back from 4-1 down in the second set for a 6-3 6-4 win.

The world number one needed one hour and 47 minutes to see off Putintseva, who gave Swiatek her toughest test yet in Rome, finding success with a series of drop shots to build a healthy lead in the second set.

However, Swiatek fended off four break points to avoid going 5-1 down then produced back-to-back breaks as the momentum shifted, with Putintseva having no answer for her power from there.

Swiatek – who is looking to build on last week's triumph at the Madrid Open – will now face either Angelique Kerber or Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the last 16 on Monday.

Data Debrief: No stopping Swiatek

While Swiatek was tested on Saturday, it was an examination she passed with flying colours as she made it 25 straight clay-court wins against opponents ranked outside the world's top 10.

She is the first player on the WTA Tour to achieve that feat since Serena Williams did so in 2016.

Emma Raducanu says the best is yet to come as she continued her excellent form by making it through to the quarter-final of the Stuttgart Open.

The 2021 US Open champion beat Linda Noskova 6-0 7-5 in Germany to set up a mouth-watering last-eight tie with world number one Iga Swiatek on Friday.

Raducanu is making her way back after a torrid 2023 but looked excellent in winning her two ties in the Billie Jean King Cup at the weekend and then followed that up by swatting home favourite Angelique Kerber aside in Wednesday’s first round.

She stepped it up again to dispose of the world number 31 to set up a repeat of the 2022 quarter-final with Swiatek.

Despite all her troubles since winning the US Open in 2021, Raducanu never doubted the good times would return.

“I am not too surprised because I have been working really hard on the training court and I knew it was just a matter of time,” she said in her on-court interview.

“This isn’t my best I still have a long way to go. I am just really happy the rewards are starting to come on the match court.

“You know how it is when you are training day in, day out you feel like the results aren’t going your way. It is never that far away, that is something I am learning.

“Going through everything I have been through gives you a different appreciation, there is nothing like playing in front of fans and playing good tennis.”

Her progress will face its toughest test when against the Polish world number one, who is a master of the clay court, but the Briton knows she is not under any pressure.

Raducanu, whose world ranking of 303 will shoot up, added: “We played here two years ago in the quarters, I have come a long way in two years, and she has achieved a lot, I have nothing to lose, I can swing and enjoy it.

“Hopefully recover in time. I’m good.”

Several familiar faces will return to grand-slam action at the Australian Open after extended breaks.

Injury has unfortunately postponed Rafael Nadal’s slam comeback but fellow former champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber return along with Britain’s Emma Raducanu.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the returning players.

Naomi Osaka

Osaka’s opening-round match in Brisbane last week was her first since September 2022. It was last January when the Japanese player revealed she was expecting her first child and would miss the season. Baby Shai arrived in July and the break appears to have given Osaka, who missed major chunks of 2022 because of her mental health, a new perspective and a fresh hunger for the sport. Melbourne Park’s courts suit the 26-year-old well, and the 2019 and 2021 champion will be a name other players will hope to avoid in the draw.

Emma Raducanu

 

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While not sidelined for as long as Nadal or Osaka, Raducanu has not played a grand-slam match since a second-round loss to Coco Gauff in Melbourne 12 months ago. After battling consistent niggling injuries since her US Open triumph, in May the 21-year-old opted to have surgery on both wrists and one ankle and was not seen on the match court again in 2023. While strong opinions abound regarding Raducanu’s approach to her career, her talent is not in doubt and the biggest question mark remains whether her body can hold up to the rigours of professional tennis.

Angelique Kerber

Tennis fans could have been forgiven for thinking former Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open champion Kerber had retired. Instead, after being off the tour since Wimbledon 2022 and nearly a year after the birth of daughter Liana, the German is back. Kerber will turn 36 this month and her grand slam winning days are surely behind her but she joins a growing gang of mums on tour.

Marin Cilic

Another veteran on the comeback trail is 35-year-old former US Open champion Cilic. The Croatian, a finalist in Melbourne in 2018, only played two matches in 2023 because of a knee injury.

Amanda Anisimova

A tennis prodigy who reached the French Open semi-finals as a 17-year-old in 2019, Anisimova’s career understandably stalled following the untimely death of her father and coach Konstantin later the same year. In May last year, the American, who is still only 22, announced she was taking an indefinite break from the sport, citing burnout and mental health issues. “I slowed my life down and that’s something that I really needed,” Anisimova told the WTA on her return in Auckland last week.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer revealed he has previously been treated for skin cancer and underwent three operations on his face.

Neuer has joined forces with three-time tennis grand slam champion Angelique Kerber to release a skincare range called 'Newkee' and revealed the personal reasons for his involvement.

The 36-year-old had not previously disclosed the medical information, with the timeframe remaining unclear on the operation, though he was pictured last year playing with bandaging over his face.

"We both have a very personal history of skin diseases. In Angelique's case it's sun-related hyperpigmentation," the Germany veteran said in a press release launching the skincare range.

"In my case it's skin cancer on my face, which I've already had to have operated on three times."

Neuer has not featured for Bayern since October 8 due to a shoulder injury, but could be fit for the Bundesliga trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

His return would prove a welcome boost for Germany, whose World Cup campaign starts against Japan in 21 days, as Hansi Flick's side aim for global glory in Qatar.

Bayern trail unlikely leaders Union Berlin by a point at the Bundesliga summit, with three games left to play before the break for the World Cup.

Three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber has announced she is pregnant and will miss the US Open as "two against one just isn't a fair competition."

The former world number one on Wednesday revealed she will not be around on the WTA Tour "for a while", as she is expecting her first child.

Kerber, 34, says she is "nervous and excited" by the "new path" she is heading in.

The German posted on Instagram: "I really wanted to play the @usopen but eventually I decided that two against one just isn't a fair competition.

"For the next months, I will take a break from traveling the globe as a tennis player but then again, I believe it’s for the best possible reason! I will miss all of you.

"New York has often been a turning point in my career and it feels like this year will be no different in some way! From restarting my career in 2011 to winning the title in 2016 and becoming #1 in the world… the @usopen have a special place in my heart and I wish I could have said goodbye to all of you on court before not being around on tour for a while.

"Being a professional athlete means everything to me but I'm grateful for the new path I'm heading to. To be honest, I'm nervous and excited at the same time. Thanks for your continued support - it means everything to me "

Kerber's announcement came just five days before the US Open gets under way at Flushing Meadows.

The left-hander was crowned champion in New York six years ago after also winning the Australian Open in 2016 and she went on to take the Wimbledon title in 2018.

Bianca Andreescu dismantled top seed Daria Kasatkina to reach the semi-finals of the Bad Homburg Open, while Beatriz Haddad Maia moved a step closer to a third straight title in Eastbourne. 

A resounding 6-4 6-1 win over Kasatkina saw Andreescu advance to the last four of a WTA Tour grass-court tournament for the first time. 

The last time she reached the semi-finals in any event was the 2021 Miami Open, where she finished as runner-up after retiring with an ankle injury in the second set of the final against Ash Barty. 

Andreescu limited Kasatkina to just 17.6 per cent of the points behind the Russian's second serve and saved four of the six break points she faced to book a meeting with Simona Halep. 

Former world number one Halep sent down 10 aces and converted all three of the break points that came her way in a 6-2 6-1 success over Amanda Anisimova. 

The other semi-final will be an all-French affair after Alize Cornet and Caroline Garcia downed home hopes Angelique Kerber and Sabine Lisicki respectively. 

After going all the way in Nottingham and Birmingham this month, Haddad Maia progressed to the semi-finals of the Eastbourne International courtesy of a walkover against Lesia Tsurenko. 

Next up for Haddad Maia is Petra Kvitova, who she beat in straight sets in the first round in Birmingham, after the Czech ended Harriet Dart's run to the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-4 win. 

Jelena Ostapenko cruised to a 6-3 6-2 victory against Anhelina Kalinina and will take on Camila Giorgi for a place in the final. Giorgi comfortably overcame lucky loser Viktoriya Tomova 6-2 6-1 in 64 minutes. 

Garbine Muguruza saw her Wimbledon preparations take a hit as she fell to a last-16 defeat at the Eastbourne International on Wednesday. 

World number 26 Camila Giorgi battled from a break down in both sets to beat fifth seed Muguruza 7-5 6-3 in an hour and 53 minutes. 

That meant 12th seed Giorgi made her second straight quarter-final, following a last-eight appearance in Birmingham, and will next face Viktoriya Tomova, who defeated Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-3 6-4. 

Jil Teichmann, the 10th seed at the tournament, was a notable second-round elimination, falling to a 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 defeat to Briton Harriet Dart, who later triumphed 6-4 2-6 6-4 over Marta Kostyuk. 

Dart's fellow Briton Katie Boulter stunned last year's Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova in the second round but had no such luck against Petra Kvitova, losing 5-7 6-0 7-5. 

Beatriz Haddad Maia, the winner at the Birmingham Open last week, extended to a 12-match winning streak with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Jodie Burrage. 

Jelena Ostapenko also progressed after Madison Keys retired when 6-3 down and will next face Anhelina Kalinina, who battled to a 6-3 2-6 6-3 win over 16th seed Yulia Putintseva. 

While seeds fell at Eastbourne, there were not as many shocks at the Bad Homburg Open, where Angelique Kerber defeated Lucia Bronzetti 6-2 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals. 

Fourth seed Simona Halep also made the last eight with 6-0 6-3 victory over Tamara Zidansek and will meet Amanda Anisimova after she won an All-American match against Ann Li 6-0 6-2. 

Alize Cornet downed Tatjana Maria 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 to tee up a clash with Kerber, while Bianca Andreescu will meet top seed Daria Kasatkina after defeating Katie Swan 6-4 6-4. 

Garbine Muguruza recorded a much-needed win to reach the last 16 at the Eastbourne International.

World number 10 Muguruza, who had only won two tour-level matches since the start of March, was tested in a gripping second-set tie-break by Magdalena Frech, eventually triumphing 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

After the victory, Muguruza said she was pleased to have overcome challenging weather conditions to reach the next stage, saying: "I feel like I fought hard against the wind, and I haven't played many matches on grass either.

"I could see today that if I didn't fight as hard as I can, I wasn't going to win."

A minor upset saw 17th seed Alison Riske slip to a 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-6 (7-4) loss to Magda Linette, while Yulia Putintseva surged to a 7-5 6-1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo and seventh seed Barbora Krejcikova saw her contest with Marta Kostyuk halted by darkness at one set apiece.

Ajla Tomljanovic beat Aleksandra Krunic 6-0 4-6 6-3 and Heather Watson went down 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 to Canada's Rebecca Marino, as the Sussex crowds prepared for Serena Williams' eagerly anticipated doubles outing alongside Ons Jabeur on Tuesday.

There was frustration for Muguruza's fellow former Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber at the Bad Homburg Open.

Kerber's match against Anastasia Gasanova got under way, but play was stopped due to fading light and a damp court after a rain-hit day. Third seed Kerber led 4-2 in the first set of a contest that will conclude on Tuesday.

The only other seed in action in Germany made routine progress, as France's Alize Cornet raced to a 6-2 6-4 win over Anna Kalinskaya.

Angelique Kerber crashed out at the third round of the French Open as Aliaksandra Sasnovich claimed another scalp on Friday.

Three-time grand slam winner Kerber headed to Paris as the 21st seed but in good form after victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg last week.

Kerber, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, made it seven straight clay-court wins for the first time in her professional career after defeating Elsa Jacquemot on Wednesday at Roland Garros.

However, Sasnovich – who defeated US Open winner Emma Raducanu in the previous round – proved a step too far for 21st seed Kerber, who fell to a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) loss on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

World number 47 Sasnovich next faces Italy's Martina Trevisan, whose best result at a grand slam was the quarter-finals at this competition two years ago.

Trevisan became the first Italian female player to win eight or more matches in a row since Francesca Schiavone in 2017 by defeating Daria Saville 6-3 6-4 in the third round.

Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff negotiated past Kaia Kanepi 6-3 6-4 to tee up a fourth-round clash with 31st seed Elise Mertens, who was a 6-2 6-3 winner over Varvara Gracheva.

Angelique Kerber clinched a career first at the French Open on Wednesday, winning her seventh match in a row on European clay.

Kerber, who has won three grand slam titles, headed to Roland Garros in form on the back of a victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

The 34-year-old, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, is in the hunt for her first French Open title, which would complete the career Grand Slam.

While that may seem unlikely for the world number 17, she took a step closer on Wednesday by defeating Elsa Jacquemot 6-1 7-6 (7-2).

That sent Kerber into the third round at Roland Garros for the first time since 2018 and also saw her win seven successive matches on clay courts in Europe for the first time in her long career.

"When you've achieved everything, you just play for the love for the game," Kerber explained after her win.

"I love to play tennis, love to play here in front of you guys, love to play for the atmosphere and working really hard to play here, have the energy from the fans.

"I still love it, let's see how long I can stay here and play good at a high level."

Angelique Kerber overcame Kaja Juvan in an epic Internationaux de Strasbourg final, with all three sets going to tie-breaks.

The two played for three hours and 16 minutes on Saturday – the longest WTA final of the year – with Kerber eventually sealing it 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (0-7) 7-6 (7-5) to win her first clay court trophy in over six years.

In their only previous meeting in 2020, Juvan upset the former world number one at the French Open, and the 21-year-old gave Kerber another scare here.

There were three breaks of serve each in the first set, with neither able to take control, before the German edged the first of the trio of tie-breaks.

Juvan and Kerber exchanged two breaks each in the second, though it was the Slovenian who was finding more opportunities, forcing the number two seed to save eight further break points across the set, before dominating the second breaker.

Neither was able to pull away in the third, with Kerber breaking early, before Juvan hit right back. It felt inevitable that the third set would follow the first two in going to a tie-break, and so it proved.

Kerber finally put her determined opponent away and paid tribute to the world number 81 in her maiden WTA final during her on-court interview, saying: "Well done Kaja, you played a great week and also a tough final... I wish you all the best in Paris [the French Open] so good luck there."

In the final of the Morocco Open, Martina Trevisan eased to her first WTA title at the expense of Claire Liu in just over 90 minutes.

The Italian dominated her opponent in a 6-2 6-1 victory after winning 63.0 per cent of her first serve points and saving nine of 10 break points.

Liu just could not get going, only winning 38.7 per cent of her own first serve points as she was unable to contain Trevisan, who becomes the second first-time champion in 2022 after Anastasia Potapova in Istanbul.

Trevisan dedicated the win to her father, saying: "I would like to dedicate this trophy to my dad. He can't see me in this moment but I know he would be very proud of me. He is a fighter like me during this week, but during his whole life - so this is for you, dad."

Karolina Pliskova reached her maiden quarter-final of the season after battling past Bernarda Para in Strasbourg 6-3 1-6 6-1.

Runner-up to Ash Barty at Wimbledon last July, Pliskova has endured a stop-start 2022 campaign.

The Czech missed the first two months with a hand injury, while suffering first-round exits in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid.

But despite being taken to a decider by her French opponent, the top seed hit 16 aces on the way to reaching the last eight.

Second seed Angelique Kerber also required a deciding set to progress to her first quarter-final of the campaign; the three-time Grand Slam winner overcoming Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 3-6 6-4.

Fourth and ninth seeds Elise Mertens and Viktorija Golubic also advanced to the last eight following straight-set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam and Fiona Ferro respectively.

However, there was no joy for top seed Garbine Muguruza over in Rabat; the two-time Grand Slam champion was beaten 2-6 6-4 6-1 by world number 85 Martina Trevisan.

The Italian's reward is a quarter-final showdown with seventh seed Arantxa Rus, who saw off Dalma Galfi 6-4 6-2.

Mayar Sherif was another seed to tumble; the Karlsruhe champion lost 4-6 7-6(5) 6-1 to Claire Liu, who triumphed in the Trophee Lagardere last week.

Third seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz recovered from losing the opening set to defeat Kristina Mladenovic 4-6 6-3 6-0, while Anna Bondar hit seven aces as she overcame Kristina Kucova 6-3 6-3. 

Top seeds Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber strolled to straight-sets wins in the first round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg, keeping the two former world number ones on course for a final meeting.

Having endured an injury-hit season to date, world number eight Pliskova made the perfect start to her campaign in France with a routine 6-4 6-2 win over Ukrainian 19-year-old Marta Kostyuk. 

Kerber, who is only missing a victory at the French Open – which begins later this month – to complete a Career Grand Slam, overcame teenager Diane Parry 6-3 6-4 in her opener, setting up a round-of-16 clash with world number 45 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Some of the other big names participating in Strasbourg, however, were not so lucky, with 5th and 6th seeds Shuai Zhang and Sloane Stephens crashing to first-round exits.

Shuai went down 6-2 6-3 to Belgium's Maryna Zanevska and Stephens capitulated to a 2-6 6-4 6-1 loss to Nefisa Berberovic, while Heather Watson set up a last-16 meeting with eighth seed Magda Linette by beating Katharina Hobgarski 6-4 6-1.

Meanwhile, Garbine Muguruza made a winning start to her campaign at the Grand Prix Sar La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Morocco, as the world number 10 builds towards a tilt at French Open glory having triumphed at Roland Garros back in 2016.

Muguruza had few difficulties in beating Anna Danilina 6-3 6-2, and will face Martina Trevisan in the round-of-16 after the Italian beat China's You Xiadoi 6-0 6-4.

Third seed Nuria Parrizas-Diaz had to come through a more difficult challenge in Rabat, overcoming Carol Zhao 7-6 (7-4) 1-6 6-2, while eighth seed Anna Kalinskaya was the highest-ranked player to fall at the first hurdle, going down 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 to Lucia Bronzetti.

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