Three months ago, only her parents knew her, and now she is conquering the United States. Who is Radukanu?
On June 7, 2021, 18-year-old Briton Emma Radukanu played her first match of her career at a professional level. The organizers of the tournament in Nottingham provided the local tennis player, who at that time was the 363rd in the world rankings, with a wild card in the main draw of the competition. Radukanu was able to impose the fight on the more experienced compatriot Harriet Dart in each of the two sets, but she failed to win, losing 3: 6, 4: 6. Exactly in three months the whole tennis world will talk about the talented British woman.
Emma’s rapid breakthrough began at the third Grand Slam tournament of the season – Wimbledon. A native of Toronto (a girl was born in Canada in the family of a Romanian and a Chinese woman, and when the girl was two years old, her parents moved to England) again received a wild card – and this time she used the invitation to the main draw of the tournament much better than in Nottingham. In the first round of the home major, Emma met with the Russian woman Vitalia Dyachenko , who several years ago, at a similar stage of the tournament, knocked out the famous Maria Sharapova from the fight.… Dyachenko and Radukanu finished the tie-break in the first set, after which Emma won seven games in a row. First, she won the decisive game in the starting game, and then hung Vitaly’s wheel in the second – 7: 6, 6: 0. Thus, Radukanu won her first career victory.
Further more. Just two days later, Emma made a big sensation by defeating Czech athlete Marketa Vondrousova . Seeded at number 21, Vondrousova fell under the real skating rink of Radukanu, settling at 2: 6, 4: 6 in just 72 minutes. The British, rapidly inflating any success of their athletes, at one point made Radukana an object of general attention, and Emma continued to win. In the third round, the 18-year-old Briton defeated the Romanian Soranu Kyrstea – 6: 3, 7: 5, thanks to which she made her way to the fourth round at the debut Grand Slam tournament. Thanks to this victory, she became the youngest British tennis player in history to qualify for the fourth round of Wimbledon (at that time she was 18 years old and 239 days old).
Emma’s next match turned into a big scandal. In the fourth round, Radukanu met with Ayla Tomljanovic , representing Australia. Emma lost the first set in a bitter struggle, then lost three games in a row at the start of the second game, and with the score 4: 6, 0: 3, she was forced to abandon the fight after the medical break. Seven-time winner of the Grand Slam tournaments, the former first racket of the world, American John McEnroe said that Radukanu withdrew from Wimbledon because she could not cope with the pressure. Emma herself said that she experienced great breathing problems because of the responsibility, and simply could not play.
“It’s a shame, I’m sorry for Emma. It looks like the tension has increased too much, this is understandable. It makes you wonder how guys and girls who have been on tour for a long time are doing. Hopefully she learns from this experience. Maybe there is nothing wrong with the fact that this happened right now, when she is 18 years old. I played in this tournament when I was 18 years old and in a way I was glad that I lost. I was able to figure out what it would take to be successful. We need to let her catch her breath and maybe get some wild cards, ”McEnroe said.
After these words, McEnroe was criticized on Twitter for the fact that he attributes the withdrawal of Radukanu to emotions. Some users have accused McEnroe of expressing such an opinion only because Radukanu is a woman. John’s words caused such a widespread resonance that his employer – the BBC – had to make an official statement that McEnroe had every right to express the opinion he holds.
In early August 2021, she played in the Silicon Valley Classic tournament, where she lost to Zhang Shuai in the first round. In the same month, she played at the WTA 125K series tournament in Chicago, where she lost in the final to Clara Towson – 1: 6, 6: 2, 4: 6. After that, she climbed to 150th place in the WTA rankings.
Emma’s path in the American major is like a Cinderella tale. In qualifying, Emma received only the 31st seed, but she spent less than four hours to complete three rounds of the qualifying competitions (in 3 hours 52 minutes, the 18-year-old British defeated the Dutch Schufs, the Georgian Bolkvadze and the Egyptian Sheriff, who was seeded fourth). Having gained an incredible boost of confidence, Radukanu began to rush through the main net like a crazy whirlwind.
In the first round, Emma defeated the experienced Swiss Stephanie Vögel – 6: 2, 6: 3. In the next stage of the tournament, she did not notice Shuai’s resistance – 6: 2, 6: 4. It was this Chinese woman, Radukanu, a month before that she lost without a chance in San Jose, but at the Grand Slam tournaments, real miracles are happening with Emma. Just think – at the moment the match with Shuai has become the most energy-intensive for Radukanu in New York. In the third round, she gave only one game to the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo – 6: 0, 6: 1. And then Shelby Rogers destroyed the American dream Radukanu – 6: 2, 6: 1. American, who removed the first number of the world ranking Ashley Barty from the fight in the previous round, could not provide any resistance to Emma. The current winning streak of the Englishwoman, whom only her parents knew three months ago, in New York has already seven matches, and she is definitely not going to stop there.
“This is an amazing performance. Seriously, if I hadn’t watched her matches, I would have thought it was impossible. In addition, after Wimbledon, the pressure on her increased. But I look at her play, she is so calm, she moves great. She just likes to be on the court. I cannot find weaknesses in her game. I don’t think she has them at all. She is an amazing tennis player, ”- quotes the words of the seven-time winner of the Grand Slam tournaments Mats Wilander Eurosport.
In the men’s singles, Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz reached the quarterfinals . Thus, at the US Open, for the first time since 1988, both women and men have 18-year-old quarter-finalists. Last time they were Gabriela Sabatini and Andre Agassi . Now America is being conquered by Raducana and Alcaraz. In the quarterfinals, Emma will play against Swiss Belinda Bencic . This match will be played in New York on September 8th.