A tornado that sweeps away everything in its path? Her victory Thursday, September 9 against Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the semi-finals of the US Open has confirmed the revelation status of Emma Raducanu. At only 18 years old, the young player never ceases to amaze the gallery.
The elders are overwhelmed. “He is a superstar in the making”, loose the giant Martina Navratilova, 18 Grand Slam titles on the clock. “She hits the ball like a certain Novak Djokovic: there are so many similarities! “, enthuses the Swede Mats Wilander, commenting on his exploits on Eurosport. “Athletic qualities, determination, concentration, the ability to improvise: Emma ticks all the boxes”, certifies Virginia Wade, the last Briton to have won the US Open (in 1968).
Too tender again at Wimbledon
The English press continues to ignite also for a player who had the good idea to reveal herself a few weeks earlier at Wimbledon. Because who knew the native of Toronto, raised in England by her Romanian father and her Chinese mother, before her first picking in the English garden? The young woman pointed to the 338e place in the world rankings, with only one small tournament among the big ones before (defeat in the first round in Nottingham).
And then badaboum: it is revealed at Wimbledon at the beginning of the summer, fourth Briton only to invite itself in the second week for thirty years. So of course, in the round of 16, the tender shoot had turned out to be a little too green, giving up after a set its game against the Australian Ajla Tomljanovic, for respiratory problems. But the announcement was made: we would have to reckon with the young Briton.
After a final lost in the second zone tournament in Chicago in August, the young girl again arrived at the US Open with an invitation (“wild card”) in qualifying, but without any complex. In her journey to the last four, she lined up eight victories without leaving any set, notably executing Shelby Rogers, who previously fell for world number one Ashleigh Barty, and the Swiss Belinda Bencic, recent Olympic champion in Tokyo, before winning her semi-final against the Greek Maria Sakkari (18th world).
Emma Raducanu thus became the first player in the history of the American tournament after qualifying to reach the final. With as main weapons a devastating service, an iron defense, a remarkable ability to adapt to the game of his opponents. And a freshness for the moment saving for the gifted student who has also focused on her studies (she has just passed the baccalaureate), thus finding a profitable balance on the court.
→ READ. Women’s tennis in constant revolution
The Briton is also taking advantage of a period marked by the Covid which upsets benchmarks and hierarchies. At the US Open, she shares the gazette’s attention with Canadian Leylah Fernandez, barely two months her senior and also a surprise finalist, after knocking out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round.
Among the men, the sensation came from the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 18, eliminated on retirement in the quarter-finals, against the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, 21. The next generation is ambitious. It remains to be seen whether these young people in a hurry will confirm as new stars or pass as shooting stars.