Photo: Emma Raducanu became the youngest British woman to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon in the Open Era (Reuters Photo)

08 September 2021 | James Porteous | Clipper Media

This page started out in July as an overview of Emma Raducanu at Wimbledon and the match she did not finish. But now, in September, she is back and taking the US Open by storm! So you may still find the original articles below but I will add new items to the top. Good luck Emma!

Emma Raducanu – US Open September 2021

Emma Raducanu celebrates after beating Maria Sakkari to reach the US Open final. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

Emma Raducanu roars past Sakkari to set up US Open final against Fernandez

10 September 2021 | Tumaini Carayol | The Guardian

When Emma Raducanu arrived at Flushing Meadows this year, she did not have the faintest idea of where to go. So unfamiliar was she with her surroundings, she needed help from her fellow players just to navigate the tournament’s vast grounds.

Her growth over the past three weeks since those timid first steps has been astounding as she outplayed everyone put in front of her. And under the lights of the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday night she went even further, producing yet another brilliant performance to reach her first grand slam final.

Faced with a moment she has been dreaming of her entire life, Raducanu handled the occasion with the remarkable composure that has defined her rise as she outclassed Maria Sakkari, the Greek 17th seed, 6-1, 6-4.

In doing so, Raducanu became the first qualifier, man or woman, to reach a grand slam final in the Open era and the first British woman to reach a grand slam final since Virginia Wade’s triumph at Wimbledon in 1977. At the age of 18, Raducanu is now one step from the ultimate achievement in her sport.

“Honestly, the time here in New York has gone so fast,” she said after the match. “I’ve just been taking care of each day and, before you know it, I’m in the final and I can’t believe it.”

She will face another teenager, 19 year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez, after the Canadian extended her own astonishing run by scuppering the second seed, Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4. Together the two players, who last faced each other at junior Wimbledon in 2018, will contest the first grand slam final between teenagers since Serena Williams and Martina Hingis met at the 1999 US Open.

Standing between Raducanu and the final was one of the biggest servers and most athletic players on tour. Sakkari had unfinished business when she stepped on court: at Roland Garros this year, in her first-ever grand slam semi-final, she had faltered when she held match point against Barbora Krejcikova.

Sakkari’s drive was obvious at the start of the match. Over the first two games, Raducanu faced seven break points but she demonstrated her toughness by saving them all, and broke for good measure to lead 3-0. As Sakkari struggled to find her level, Raducanu grew. She seemed to occupy every part of the court, neutralising Sakkari’s weight of shot with her movement and effortlessly flipped from defence to offence. Sakkari sprayed unforced errors and found herself 5-0 down before Raducanu tidily closed off the first set.

Sakkari opened the second with far greater energy, slamming down a quick hold. But while the Greek player was untouchable on her serve against Karolina Pliskova in the previous round, Raducanu handled Sakkari’s biggest weapon by landing difficult returns at her feet. In Sakkari’s second service game of the set, Raducanu laid waste to the Greek’s serve, pressuring her first serve and attacking her second to break.

The Briton then held serve with an ace and soon found herself up 6-1, 3-1 with double break point. But after Raducanu overhit a forehand and shanked another, Sakkari held serve and the tension rose as the Greek marched around the court determined to recover.

How did Raducanu respond? She served brilliantly as she held to love for 4-2, snapping a backhand down the line on game point. Although Sakkari finally settled into her own service game, Raducanu came out at 5-4 and served out her first grand slam semi-final with ease.

And so this unprecedented journey, which began in the qualifying rounds in the heat of August, goes on. Raducanu is already up to 31st in the live rankings, meaning she has put herself in position to be seeded at the Australian Open after starting the summer as the world No 366 and playing just four tour-level tournaments. Across her nine matches since the qualifying draw, she has yet to drop a set.

Given how sparse her resume is, it would have been perfectly understandable for her to have stumbled over the past week. But she does not care. She is here to take her journey match-by-match, and she has arrived at each one with unwavering belief that she can beat the opponent across the net. Each time she has.

“Is there any expectation? I’m a qualifier so technically, on paper, there’s nothing. No pressure on me,” said Raducanu on court after her victory.

That youthful fearlessness has, of course, been the defining trend of the US Open. Fernandez had arrived at the tournament ranked 73rd and in indifferent form yet after upsetting Naomi Osaka, the defending champion and third seed, in the third round, she followed it with wins over former champion Angelique Kerber, No 5 seed Elina Svitolina and then Sabalenka.

With her victory, Fernandez became the youngest woman to reach a grand slam final since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004. Less than two hours later, Raducanu took the record for herself.

Raducanu has reached the US Open semi-finals on her debut appearance. Photograph: Elise Amendola/AP

Emma Raducanu – Wimbledon July 2021

Britain’s Emma Raducanu receive medical attention during the women’s singles fourth-round match against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

Experience caught up with me’ says Emma Raducanu after Wimbledon withdrawal

06 July 2021 | Lucy Campbell  | Guardian

Teenager forced to retire from her last-16 match after breathing difficulties says she will ‘come back stronger’

Emma Raducanu has said she had to pull out of Wimbledon because the “whole experience caught up with me”, as organisers defended the scheduling of her last-16 match.

The 18-year-old was forced to retire on medical advice from her match against Australian Ajla Tomljanović on Monday night after experiencing breathing difficulties and feeling dizzy following some intense rallies towards the end of the first set.

In a statement released on social media on Tuesday afternoon, Raducanu said she was feeling better and doing well despite feeling disappointed that she could not finish the match. “I was playing the best tennis of my life in front of an amazing crowd this week, and I think the whole experience has caught up with me,” she wrote.

“The medical team advised me not to continue, and although it felt like the hardest thing in the world, not to be able to finish my Wimbledon on the court, I was not well enough to carry on.”

Congratulating Tomljanović on an incredible performance and expressing her gratitude to everyone who had cheered her on, the teenager added: “Last night will go a long way to helping me learn what it takes to perform at the top. I will cherish everything we have achieved together this week, and come back stronger.”

Wimbledon organisers wished Raducanu well with her recovery and commended how she had carried herself throughout the fortnight. A statement read: “We were very sad to see Emma forced to withdraw from her match last night and wish her all the best with her recovery.

“She should be commended for the poise and maturity she has shown throughout the Wimbledon fortnight and we very much look forward to welcoming her back to Wimbledon next year and in the years to come.”

Emma Raducanu is seen struggling before going off court and retiring. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

There had been some criticism over the scheduling of the “Manic Monday” match which, in a break with convention, was the last to be played on Court One despite all the other women’s contests having been played earlier in the day ahead of the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

A five-set men’s match between Félix Auger-Aliassime and Alexander Zverev, which was interrupted by rain, meant Raducanu and Tomljanović did not walk out on court until shortly before 8pm BST, which meant the contest could also be shown in BBC One’s primetime slot.

But speaking to the BBC on Tuesday morning, Raducanu dismissed suggestions that the long wait had contributed to what had happened. “I think that I was prepared to go out there whatever time of day I was required to. I was so excited. I didn’t find a problem with it at all.”

Though she didn’t know what had caused her breathing problems, she suspected it was “a combination of everything that has gone on behind the scenes in the last week and the accumulation of the excitement, the buzz”.

Raducanu added that it was louder and hotter on Court One compared with the smaller courts, and it had taken several games for both her and her opponent to settle into the match.

In its statement, the All England Club defended the decision to schedule the match last on Court One. “The scheduling of the order of play each day at the championships is a complex operation, and although we take great care when scheduling matches and allocating courts on a daily basis, it is not an exact science.

“All decisions are made with fairness and the best interests of the tournament, players, spectators and our worldwide broadcast audience at heart, but the unpredictable nature of the length of matches and the British weather can and will cause disruption to any schedule.”Quick Guid

Raducanu was trailing 4-6, 0-3 to Tomljanović when she became visibly unwell, leaving the court before it was announced she would not be returning for medical reasons.

Emma Raducanu speaking to the BBC after leaving match at Wimbledon. Photograph: BBC

Despite the sadness of Monday night, the mood in SW19 remained positive and focused on her bright future. Sporting a Three Lions shirt, Raducanu said it had been “the best week of my life” and was so grateful to her team and the fans who cheered her on.

The teenager, who is awaiting her A-Level results, said she would be kicking back at home for the next few days and watching the football. “It’s coming home, isn’t it,” she said, predicting a 2-1 England win.

Having only made her WTA Tour debut in June, Raducanu has caused a sensation in the last week, becoming the youngest British player in the open era to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon.

Her remarkable run means she will rise to a career ranking high of 175 from her current 338, while her earnings have increased by £181,000 and her Instagram following by more than a quarter of a million.

Photo by WTA/Jimmie48
Photo by WTA/Jimmie48

Get to Know Emma Raducanu, the British teen making history at Wimbledon

From stressing over her A-levels to modeling her game after Li Na and Simona Halep, get to know 18-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu, who is reveling in her historic Wimbledon debut.

By Courtney Nguyen – WTA Insider

Britain’s teenage phenom Emma Raducanu made history Saturday, becoming the youngest British woman in the Open Era to make the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Making her debut on No.1 court, the 18-year-old defeated Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 7-5 to book a spot in the fourth round and Monday will face Ajla Tomljanovic. 

Here’s what you need to know about the World No.338 who is firing up the home crowd at Wimbledon:

1. She just broke a 42-year British record

Raducanu became the fourth British teenager to make the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in the Open Era and, at 18 years and 239 days old, the youngest. 

Before Raducanu’s Wimbledon debut, the youngest British woman to reach this stage was Deborah Jevans in 1979 (19 years, 48 days). The two other teens to do so were Glynis Coles in 1973 (19 years, 138 days) and Laura Robson in 2013 (19 years, 166 days). 

2. She made her WTA main-draw debut in Nottingham … last month

Raducanu is playing just her second tour-level event. She made her debut last month at the Viking Open Nottingham as a wildcard, losing to her compatriot Harriet Dart 6-3, 6-4 in the first round. 

The following week, she played the ITF 100K in Nottingham and made the quarterfinals, beating Storm Sanders and Timea Babos in straight sets before losing to Tsvetana Pironkova. That run convinced the AELTC to take a chance and give her a main-draw wildcard at Wimbledon, where she is making her tournament and Slam debut.

“Honestly, I just wanted to make the most out of [the wildcard], try to show that I earned it, try to make the most out of it,” Raducanu said. “I’m really grateful for the All England Club’s support in taking a chance on me.

“The way that I’m approaching my matches is each time I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why not?’ Like today, I was like, ‘Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?’ I think that’s how I’m approaching it. I’m just trying to stay here as long as possible. I’m just having such a blast.”

3. She is coached by Nigel Sears

Raducanu is currently coached by Nigel Sears, who formerly coached Amanda Coetzer, Daniela Hantuchova, Ana Ivanovic and, most recently, Anett Kontaveit. Sears has worked with Raducanu at varying points in her career, starting when she was 15.

“To be able to have someone like him in my corner, it definitely gives me a lot of confidence in these situations to know that he believes in me,” Raducanu said. “I’m really grateful that he’s taken a chance on me.”

4. She was born in Canada and has Romanian and Chinese roots

Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada. Her father, Ian, is Romanian. Her mother, Renee, is Chinese. The family moved to London when she was 2. Her parents work in finance. 

She still goes back to Romania a couple of times a year to visit her grandmother on her father’s side, in Bucharest.

“On my mum, she’s always instilled a lot of discipline, respect for other people into me,” Raducanu said. “I think having parents like I do, they always push me. They have high expectations. I’ve always tried to live up to that. And I hope I did them proud this week.”

5. She counts Simona Halep and Li Na as idols

Raducanu says it’s just a coincidence that her two idols hail from countries she has connections to, but she’s tried to model her game after Romania’s Simona Halep and China’s Li Na. 

“I think it’s definitely helped me, the mentality that both of them bring,” Raducanu said. “They both come from very hard-working countries.”

She certainly hits her backhand like someone who looked up to Halep and Li:

6. Injuries and school have held her back from playing more junior tournaments

Raducanu hit a career-high junior ranking of No.20 in 2018. She has played six junior Slams, with her best result coming in back-to-back quarterfinals in 2018 at Wimbledon, where she lost to eventual champion and subsequent Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek, and the US Open, where she lost to Clara Burel. Raducanu says injuries and school held her back as a junior.

“I think it has at times been a little bit frustrating because you see the players that you’ve been growing up with and they’re achieving,” Raducanu said. “At the moment there are so many young players that are doing so well on the WTA Tour and the seniors. Sometimes it gets to you a little bit, ‘Oh, I wish I could just have the opportunity to compete, then maybe I could do the same.’

“I think that the most important thing is when I’m given the opportunity, like I have been this week, just to try and make the most out of it. This is my opportunity to show that I am there, that my level is there. So far I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job.”

“The way that I’m approaching my matches is each time I’m thinking to myself, Why not? Like today, I was like, Someone has to be in the second week, why not me?”

7. She practiced with a former Wimbledon champion before the tournament

Raducanu has been reveling in the opportunity to practice with the game’s best over the past few weeks. She practiced with Marketa Voudrousova for an hour before the tournament – and then beat the 2019 French Open runner-up in the second round – and she’s been able to practice with Garbiñe Muguruza twice.

“I was so chuffed just to be able to hit with her and see how intense she was. It definitely made something click in my head. ‘Wow, this is the level I need to be training at.’ I need to be this intense if I want to achieve anything remotely near to what she has.

“I think that definitely was a small turning point in my head. I even got the opportunity to hit with her again. That made me feel really good that I produced in the first hit.”

“I think my parents just think I’m crazy. I won’t accept anything less than an A star.”

8. She credits being studious for her tactical acumen on court

Raducanu just finished school at Newstead Wood School in London and she credits her seven years there for developing her mind and social skills for tennis.

“I think staying in school has definitely helped me in terms of having another set of friends I can come into,” Raducanu said. “It was a different way of life. It’s a bit of an escape as well for me. To have another thing going alongside my tennis, it’s kept my mind occupied.

“When you train, you only train a certain amount of hours a day. You’ve still got a lot of time to fill. It’s definitely helped to keep my mind active. I find it’s actually helped me with my on-court career as well in the way that I can absorb a lot of information. I feel that on court I’m more tactically astute than some others.”

9. She’s a high academic achiever

Raducanu just sat her last two A-levels in math and economics. Apparently, she has a reputation for expecting the best from herself, both on and off the court. 

“Everyone thinks I’m absolutely fanatic about my school results,” Raducanu said, laughing. “They think I have such an inflated ego about it.

“I think my parents just think I’m crazy. I won’t accept anything less than an A star. I think that’s what people around me think about me. I also feel like I have to live up to that expectation now. That’s why I also work so hard to try and get those grades. I’m not sure what I’m going to come back with, but I did my part, I did my best.

10. She isn’t taking anything for granted

After defeating Vondrousova in straight sets, Raducanu said she’s been soaking in her first Wimbledon experience as if she were on holiday.

“I think for me, someone who has not been able to compete much, has always been sort of held back by something, I think that just to be able to be at The Championships, I feel like I’m on a holiday, like it’s unbelievable,” Raducanu said. “I just want to stay here for as long as I can.

“I think playing in front of a home crowd definitely helps. I mean, their support is so loud and they’re so behind me. I’m really grateful. I’ve definitely got that in the back of my mind.

“Also I was just thinking to play every point like it was my last point, like it was match point, it was my last point here at Wimbledon. I think that also is a trick that I’ve been playing with myself.”

Emma Raducanu entered Wimbledon as the world No 338 but she had a promising junior career and has already won three ITF titles. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/Reuters
Emma Raducanu entered Wimbledon as the world No 338 but she had a promising junior career and has already won three ITF titles. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/Reuters

Emma Raducanu’s Wimbledon breakout is a rare bubble success story

04 July 2021 | Tumaini Carayol | The Guardian

Tennis has a way of facilitating life-changing moments over the course of little more than a week with a few short matches, but the tale of 18-year-old Emma Raducanu is rare in its suddenness. Before this year’s grass season, Raducanu had never competed in the main draw of a top level tournament and she arrived at Wimbledon ranked No 338 in the world, having never faced a top 100 opponent. Although her talent has been cherished in British circles for a long time, she was relatively unknown beyond.

As Raducanu steps out to face on No 1 Court on Monday, those days are over. Her story has defined the first week of Wimbledon and in some way it has been to her great advantage that it has happened at a time when players are sequestered in a hotel and away from the public.

In 1979, Debbie Jevans was another British teenager in the fourth round at Wimbledon, a feat not repeated until Laura Robson in 2013. Jevans says: “I was playing in different times with less distractions but I had to do press conferences and in a strange way the Covid restrictions might be helping her. She’s doing press on Zoom and not sitting in front of a room full of reporters. There are probably fewer interview things to do in general and she’s living in the bubble, so I think that may make it easier for her to shut things out.”

A common thread in Raducanu’s career is that she has played sparingly because of a variety of injury niggles, school exams and now the Covid-19 pandemic. But when she plays, she performs. After a successful junior career that included quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, her senior career win-loss record is now a handsome 56-18. She has already won three ITF titles and reached two further finals.

Wimbledon will host capacity crowds on Centre Court and Court One for men’s and women’s singles matches during the final six days of the event, making it the first sporting event in to hold 100% capacity crowds since the pandemic began. The All England Club announced the singles quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals will all be played in front of  capacity crowds. Centre Court, which holds 14,979 seats, will be full from tomorrow until the end of the tournament. The 12,345 capacity Court One will host some quarter-finals tomorrow and Wednesday. For the final days of the event, Court One’s capacity will depend on the tournament schedule. 

Wimbledon has hosted 50% capacity crowds since it started as part of the government’s “events research programme”. Spectators must show proof of their Covid status in order to enter thegrounds and they are advised to wear masks while moving around the grounds but they are not required to wear masks in their seats. The tournament had initially planned to host capacity crowds for just the men’s and women’s singles finals. Tumaini Carayol  
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Her breakout week at Wimbledon has really been an extension of that continued success and it has been instructive to see just how easily her strengths have translated to the top level. Raducanu’s game is already distinctly well rounded; her athleticism pins it all together, her mobility allowing her more space to choose when to unleash.

Although the youngster’s forehand is potent in its own right, Raducanu’s backhand is her major weapon. She takes the stroke early and times it sweetly, stealing time from opponents, and she can also change directions down the line with ease. In a forehand-dominated game, increasingly so on the women’s tour, her backhand reliance is particularly distinct: Raducanu is one of only two remaining players in either singles draw who has hit more backhand winners (25) than forehand winners (23).

Emma Raducanu’s forehand is potent but her backhand aptitude could help set her apart. Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock
Emma Raducanu’s forehand is potent but her backhand aptitude could help set her apart. Photograph: Javier García/Shutterstock

And then there is the first shot of each point. Raducanu’s return game has been excellent throughout the week. Her aggression has yielded 52% of return games won during the tournament. But against Sorana Cirstea in Saturday’s third-round match in particular, her first serve was extremely effective. By the time she led 3-0 in the second set, she had lost just one point on her first serve. She closed out the match with 83% of first serve points won.

Anne Keothavong, a former top 50 player and Great Britain’s current Billie Jean King Cup captain, says they first met when Raducanu was 11. Keothavong was immediately struck by the youngster’s timing and her ability to step inside the court and take the ball on the rise. As Raducanu has grown up, her attention to detail has become a defining point of her progression.