News Karnataka
Friday, February 03 2023

What Next for Emma Raducanu – How Good is She in Reality?

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British teen tennis superstar Emma Raducanu stunned the world of tennis when she won the women’s US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. She did it in such style, too, beating 19-year-old Canadian Laylah Annie Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in a match that was quite stunning in terms of the pace and accuracy of play.

She may not be the youngest woman tennis player to win the US Open; that honour stays with the likes of Tracy Austin, Martina Hingis and Monica Seles – but she is the first qualifier not just to[get to a Grand Slam final but to win it.

Her achievement was quite immense. She is the youngest player to be crowned a GS champion since Maria Sharapova in 2004 when she beat Serena Williams in the final at Wimbledon. To cap it all, she is the only tennis player to win a Grand Slam in so few attempts – just two.

Miss Raducanu is the first British woman tennis player to win a major title in 44 years. The last time it happened was when Virginia Wade beat Betty Stöve of the Netherlands in the Wimbledon final of 1977. It was the tournament’s centenary year and also happened to be the year of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who was there to witness her triumph.

Emma Raducanu caught the tennis public’s eye earlier this year at Wimbledon. At the start of 2021, she was ranked 345th in the WTA rankings. When she was given a wild card to enter the tournament at Wimbledon, she had climbed to 338th place.

But her ranking belied the talent that was hidden. Early wins against Vitalia Diatchenko, and Markéta Vondroušová, saw Raducanu advance into the third round, where she then went on to beat Sorana Cîrstea. At the age of just 18 years and 239 days, she became the youngest Brit to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in the so-called open era.

People began to sit up and take notice, and when she took the court against Ajla Tomljanović, spectators hearts were thumping with expectation, and the press began taking note. However, the pressure took its toll, and she retired, with a seeming panic attack, one set and love three down. As with Naomi Osaka, it placed a serious question mark about her future.

But, as we now know, she has got over that little wobble and set aside any doubts regarding her ability. How good she proves to be when she comes against players like Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, and Karolina Pliskova, we will just have to wait and see.

Her next tests will come at Indian Wells, followed by tournaments in Russia and Romania. She at least needs to confirm her new number 22 WTA ranking, and who knows? If she continues to improve, she could make the top eight to qualify for the WTA finals in Guadalajara in November. The sky is the limit for this young lady.

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