Extraordinary Emma Raducanu Makes US Open History, Sets Up First Unseeded Final In Open Era - UBITENNIS
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Extraordinary Emma Raducanu Makes US Open History, Sets Up First Unseeded Final In Open Era

Britain’s 44-year wait for a female Grand Slam finalist has come to an end following what has been a fairytale run by the teenage qualifier.

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Emma Raducanu reacts after winning a Women's Singles semifinal match at the 2021 US Open, Thursday, Sep. 9, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

The remarkable run of world No.150 Emma Raducanu continues to break records after the British underdog stunned Maria Sakkari in straight sets to reach the US Open final.

 

Playing in just her second Grand Slam main draw and only her 12th match on the WTA Tour, the 18-year-old once again defeated the odds to prevail 6-1, 6-4, under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Becoming the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era. Against Sakkari, who is currently ranked 132 places higher than her, Raducanu saved all seven of the break points she faced and fired 16 winners past her opponent.

“Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast. I’ve just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in final. I can’t actually believe it,” Raducanu said following the milestone win.
“Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself. While I have the moment I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support.
“Since I’ve been here from the first round of the quallies I’ve had unbelievable support.”

Ranked outside the world’s top 300 at the start of this year, the rapid rise of the Brit has caught many off guard and has even stunned the women’s Tour which is renowned for its unpredictability. Just 15 days ago she started her US Open campaign in the qualifying rounds. Since then, she has gone on to win nine matches in a row without dropping a single set. Sakkari was only the second top 20 player she had faced in her career after Belinda Bencic who she defeated in the quarter-finals.

“In the US Open I wasn’t really sure how my level was going to be. In a way my tennis level has surprised me that I’ve managed step up against some of the best players in the world,” Raducanu commented on her run.
“I personally think inside I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn’t know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets. To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can’t believe it.’
“It’s been extremely difficult because they always fight, they have so much experience which they use. I’m just so, so proud to have come through very tough moments in all of my matches.”

Raducanu has become the first British woman to reach a major final since Virginia Wade at the 1977 Wimbledon Championships. Wade was also the last British woman to reach the final of the US Open back in 1969.

Awaiting Raducanu in the final will be another rising star in the shape of 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, who is on a breakthrough run herself. The giant-killing Canadian has already scored a trio of wins over top five seeds Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and more recently Aryna Sabalenka. She has also beaten former champion Angelique Kerber. It is the first time in the Open Era that a Grand Slam final will be contested by two players who are not seeded.

“Honestly, right now I’m just thinking of the game plan, how to execute. That’s what’s landed me in this situation. It hasn’t been focusing on who’s expected to win this match or that one. I think it’s just taking care of the day. That’s what I’m doing quite well at the moment,” she said.

Saturday’s final will be the first meeting between Raducanu and Fernandez on the professional Tour. Although they did play each other a few times on the junior circuit. Despite playing three more matches than her opponent, Raducanu has still spent less time on the court (11 hours and 34 minutes against 12 hours and 45 minutes).

Born in Canada to a Chinese mother and Romanian father before moving to the UK at the age of two, Raducanu believes her rapid rise wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her parents. Saying her mother installed the concept of hard work and discipline in her. One of the players she would idolise growing up was Li Na who won two major titles during her career.

“When I was younger I would take a lot of inspiration from Li Na, even now just the way she was such a fierce competitor,” She said.
“I think all her belief, she had extremely good weapons, her movement, her mentality, but her inner strength and belief really stood out for me. I remember watching her play Schiavone in French Open final. That was definitely a long, tough match. But the amount of mental strength and resilience she showed, that match still sticks in my head today.”

Raducanu is now set to surge up the WTA rankings to 32nd in the world and could reach as high as 24th should she go on to win the title. Should she win the US Open she will earn $2,500,000 in prize money which is more than eight times what than she has made in her entire career.

Grand Slam

(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) The Wimbledon Clash Between Djokovic And Sinner Could Have Been Better

It was an epic five-set clash but imagine how better the match would have been if both were playing well at the same time…

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Hall of Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis’ Ubaldo Scanagatta analyse the dramatic events that unfolded on Tuesday at Wimbledon.

 

Top seed Novak Djokovic staged an epic comeback to oust Jannik Sinner in a match of two halves. Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie brought delight to the British fans.

On the other side of the draw, how will Rafael Nadal fair against the in-form Taylor Fritz? The Spaniard recently sidestepped a question about a potential new injury. 

As for the women’s draw, Ons Jabeur made history by becoming the first Arab player to reach a major quarter-final. She will next play 34-year-old mum-of-two Tatjana Maria who had never been beyond the third round of a major until now. 

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WIMBLEDON: 10 Facts About Semi-Finalist Ons Jabeur

All you need to know about the Trailblazing Tunisian who has created history at The All England Club.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Second seed Ons Jabeur achieved a new milestone for both her and her country at Wimbledon on Tuesday. 

 

The world No.2 battled back from a set down to defeat Marie Bouzkova 3-6, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the last four of a major event for the first time in her career. Jabeur has now dropped only one set in five matches played and is the highest ranked player remaining in the draw. Her major breakthrough comes seven years after she made her Grand Slam debut at the 2015 Australian Open. 

“I played really good from beginning of the second set, especially having a early break kind of helps me gain confidence,” said Jabeur.
“I know it wasn’t easy playing Marie. She gets all the balls and doesn’t make, to win a point, easy for me. I’m glad I stepped in with my game. I was more aggressive in the second set, and especially tactically I was playing some angles that she didn’t like much.”

To mark Jabeur’s Wimbledon milestone, here are 10 facts to know about her:-

  1. She is the first North African player – male or female – to reach a Grand Slam semi-final. The last woman from the entire African continent to reach a major semi-final was Amanda Coetzer at the 1997 French Open. 
  2. Her win over Bouzkova is Jabeur’s 26th Tour-level win on the grass.
  3. Jabeur has now won 83 matches over the past two seasons. This is more than any other player on the WTA Tour. 
  4. Has won 21 out of her last 23 matches.
  5. She is the only Tunisian woman currently ranked in the world’s top 700.
  6. Jabeur had failed to win back-to-back matches on her three out of her four previous appearances at Wimbledon in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She reached the quarter-finals in 2021.
  7. Coming into Wimbledon she has already earned more than $6.2m in prize money in her career.
  8. She has won three Tour titles in Birmingham (2021), Madrid (2022) and Berlin (2022). 
  9. Has beaten a top 10 player four times in her career – Dominika Cibulkova (2017 French Open), Simona Halep (Beijing 2018), Sloane Stephens (Moscow 2018) and Karolina Pliskova (Doha 2020).
  10. In October 2021 she became the first Arab player (mae or female) to crack the world’s top 10 in tennis. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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