Emma Raducanu set for huge rankings breakthrough ahead of Maria Sakkari showdown

Kevin Palmer
Emma Raducanu in action
Emma Raducanu on the practice court

Emma Raducanu’s revival is moving into top gear at Wimbledon and now she is closing in on a sensational rankings breakthrough.

Raducanu brushed aside Elise Mertens to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time since her 2021 US Open triumph, with the manner of her 6-1 6-2 victory against the world No 33 certain to spark a fresh wave of ‘Emma Mania’.

Despite the convincing nature of the final scoreline, many of the games were close but, Raducanu who came up with the moments of magic on key points.

She broke the Mertens serve in the second game with a drop shot that her opponent, the world number one in doubles and a former Australian Open semi-finalist, could only net.

Raducanu then saved a break point to make it 3-0 and broke again with a forehand pass on to the sideline. Mertens finally got on the scoreboard to prevent a love set but Raducanu withstood more pressure to maintain her momentum, clinching it with a big serve.

When 28-year-old Mertens recovered from 0-40 in the opening game of the second set, it could have been a crucial moment, but Raducanu simply raised her level even higher.

A backhand pass drilled beyond Mertens gave her the break for 2-1, and from there she did not look back, bouncing to the net in jubilation after her opponent’s final return drifted long.

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“I feel so, so welcome here,” said Raducanu. “Court One is my favourite court. I think I played some really good tennis today, I’m really pleased. I’m over the moon to be playing here and just to extend my stay by one more day.

“I knew all the hard yards and the hard work I’ve been doing would lead to something and I’m just so happy to reap some of the rewards in Wimbledon.”

Two wins in a Grand Slam are worth so much to Raducanu as she looks to climb the WTA Rankings, as she has no ranking points to defend from this time last year after she was ruled out for the second half of 2023 due to injury.

She was perched outside the top 200 in the rankings at the start of June, but a run to the semi-finals of the Nottingham Open and the quarter-finals at the Eastbourne International fired her up the rankings.

Now she is closing in on a return to the top 100 of the WTA Rankings, with her position in the live ranking list now at No 106.

That will rise dramatically if she wins her next match, as she will return to the top 90 of the rankings.

A run to the fourth round or even the quarter-finals at Wimbledon would see her knocking on the door of the top 50 and if she can maintain the form she showed against Mertens, she has a chance to aim for the stars in her home Grand Slam.