High praise for Emma Raducanu from Simona Halep as Romanian highlights US Open champion’s feature qualities

Emma Raducanu plays a shot

Aggression, intelligence and mental strength are some of the characteristics that Simona Halep believes have turned Emma Raducanu into a world beater.

Halep and Raducanu are both in Romanian this week ahead of the inaugural Transylvania Open and the pair are projected to meet in the semi-final of the WTA 250 event.

It is a clash that the locals would enjoy as the top-seeded Halep was born and bred in Constanța while Raducanu’s father hails from Bucharest.

WTA Transylvania Open draw: Potential Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu blockbuster semi-final looming

Raducanu has made no secret of the fact that the former world No 1 is her idol and Halep was asked about the teenager ahead of tournament.

The 18-year-old became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in September when she won 10 matches en route to securing the US Open title.

“I heard many people talking about this – what she’s done is amazing, it’s huge to win at 18,” Halep told The Telegraph. “In Romania, we have had big champions in tennis – we had Virginia Ruzici, Ilie Năstase, a history in the sport. Then a gap and then I came with the big results. [There is] a big community of sports fans, who follow everything and go everywhere they can with the Romanian flags – it’s a big boost for everybody in Romania when somebody wins a big tournament. They fit themselves into that success.”

She laughingly added: “And Raducanu being a very specific Romanian name, they feel like she is Romanian. It is very, very Romanian.”

As for the teenager’s strengths, Halep listed an array of qualities.

“I think what impressed me was her aggressiveness, she plays aggressive – but not very strong, or powerful, but rather very intelligent, very smart,” she said.

“And she’s moving very well, as well. What was the most, let’s say beautiful thing that I saw is the mental part. To be so young and to be so calm, and like very powerful on the emotions, it was impressive.”

Halep will kick off Transylvania campaign compatriot Elena-Gabriela Ruse on Wednesday while fifth seed Raducanu faces Polona Hercog first up on Tuesday.