Teenager Emma Raducanu confirms stunning ranking rise after sensational US Open win
There are rare occasions when sporting brilliance is so raw that it needs to be acknowledged for what it is and we experienced one of those moments with Emma Raducanu on Saturday afternoon at the US Open.
It’s time to ditch the narrative that the British teenager is an 18-year-old with the potential to be one of the stars of the game as she appears to be so much more than that.
Never mind that she made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon a few weeks ago or that she is a raw talent at the highest level of the game, as the facts presenting themselves as she beat Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the US Open suggest she is a contender for her first Grand Slam title here and now.
Raducanu produced tennis few have matched in the first week of the New York tennis showpiece, even if the delightfully unassuming teenager doesn’t know as much right now.
“I was playing very well and I know Sara’s an extremely tough opponent. She doesn’t make a mistake so you have to be on your game every single point,” Raducanu told Amazon Prime.
“I had to work so hard and there were some really, really long deuce games that could have gone either way so I’m just really happy that I managed to maintain and stay on it and win in the end.”
The teenager seems unaffected by the whirlwind around her, and she said: “I’ve got a great team around me, a great team here so we’re just sticking to the same routines.
“It’s been two weeks in New York now and into the third week. I never thought I’d be here but I’m just so, so excited.”
As she posed with fans around the court after the game, she could have been a tourist in New York who happened to be playing at the US Open, but this is no ordinary story.
With her groundstrokes blowing opponents away and no apparent weaknesses in her game, Raducanu is a live contender to move beyond the fourth round and into the phase of the tournament not normally the domain of players of her age or experience.
Yet we need to appreciate that Raducanu is no ordinary tennis player, as she is producing tennis that would not look out of place for a performer ranked in the top five of the WTA rankings and from what we have seen so far, that is where she is heading at a rapid pace.
“It was an unbelievably impressive performance from such a young player. She has absolutely nothing to lose,” former British number one Laura Robson said on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.
“We kept bigging this match-up as a tough opponent – and it is a tough opponent. Sorribes Tormo has won so many matches against top players and has the game to really get you in trouble, but she was never in it. She didn’t have the chance to play her game because Emma hit her off the court.
“The level was silly. A lot of young players can hit the ball hard, but to be this consistent and be able to back yourself is unbelievable.”
Raducana three wins in qualifying and hat-trick of victories in the main draw at the US Open have already seen Raducanu secure a rise of 50 places in the WTA rankings and she is now in the top 100 ahead of her fourth round match on Monday.
Sometimes those of us in the media wanting to hail a new star get carried away by a youngster enjoying a breakthrough run of form, but this feels very different.
This feels like a breakthrough experience for a tennis player destined for something very special and we might not have to wait too long to confirm that hunch.
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