Emma Radwan: Her Australian Open victory over Coco Gauff inspires optimism.

After heroically defeating seventh seed Coco Gauff at the Australian Open, Emma Raducanu has "no doubts" she can compete with the best.

The British number one needed crutches and a protective boot after rolling her ankle 13 days before the match in the second round.

The 20-year-old Raducanu stated, “To say I’ve had so little preparation, to go toe-to-toe with a player like Coco is a good achievement.”

“My chances of participating in this tournament were extremely, extremely low.”

One of the tournament favorites, world number seven Gauff, was put to the test by Raducanu. He had two set points that would have sent the match into a decider, but he lost 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

When asked if it demonstrated her ability to challenge the best players more frequently, Raducanu stated, I know for sure. Today I competed, and in the two or three weeks since my last match, I have practiced for five hours.

“When I’m fully fit, I have no doubts about what I can do. I know what I can do.”

Since her stunning victory as an unknown teenage qualifier at the 2021 US Open, Raducanu has struggled with fitness and form.

She has dropped to 77th place in the world rankings after failing to win a single match in her first full season on the WTA Tour.

The most recent setback was the ankle injury, which she suffered in a freak accident at the Auckland Open in only her second match of the season. She had worked hard in the preseason to build her body up for the demands of a long year.

After retiring from her match against Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, Raducanu wept as she left the Auckland court, knowing that her participation in the season’s first Grand Slam event was in doubt.

“I would say that we had all the cards against us. She stated, “I think I can say that now I’m not competing. I had extremely limited practice time.”

“It was obvious that there would be an effort made to get me on the court. If you had told us 13 days ago, “you’re going to be in the draw and win a round,” it would have been a huge effort.”

Gauff, 18, was a significant step up from Tamara Korpatsch, Raducanu’s previous opponent, and the Briton’s aggressive approach, particularly in the second set, caused Raducanu problems.

At one point, Raducanu was down a set and a break, but she fought back to create two chances to send the match into a decider, which she failed to do.

Raducanu added, “I still think I didn’t necessarily play my best today.”

“It irritates me a little bit because I am aware that I could have done better, but I will continue moving forward from here,”