Tennis Greats Hail Emma Raducanu’s US Open Run - UBITENNIS
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Tennis Greats Hail Emma Raducanu’s US Open Run

Mats Wilander believes the youngster will win multiple Grand Slam titles in the future as other former top players share their views.

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Emma Raducanu (Pete Staples/USTA)

The rise of Emma Raducanu in women’s tennis has earned her a barrage of praise from some of the sport’s former stars.

 

Raducanu has become the first qualifier – male or female – to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament after defeating Maria Sakkari in straight sets. The 18-year-old is now set to break into the world’s top 40 next week following her run in what will be a jump of around 300 places since the start of 2021. Raducanu only made her WTA debut in June and has still played just 12 main draw matches heading into her first major final.

Achieving what is the best result of a British woman in a Grand Slam tournament since 1977, many are tipping her to be a star in the future with Mats Wilander leading the praise. Speaking to Eurosport, the Swedish former world No.1 believes she has the ability to go to the very top of the women’s game.

“She is a star – she is going to win multiple Grand Slams for sure, and she deserves to be in the final,” Wilander commented.
“When you are 18 years old and you go into these big matches, you know what you can do. You don’t know what you cannot do, but you know what you can do, and she’s been doing exactly what she’s been doing for nine matches.
“Her level is not going to go below that. She is confident; she is young; she has no fear of the unknown at all; and she is going to be really tough to beat in the final.
“With Raducanu and with Leylah Fernandez, they know how to win. They know how to stay calm in the most important moments. They have a natural gift of not panicking, and that’s amazing. I can’t even explain it.”

Wilander joins a growing list of former legends of the game to speak highly about Raducanu who also reached the fourth round of Wimbledon earlier this year. Martina Navratilova has hailed the teenager for being able to live up to the hype. Navratilova is one of the most decorated Grand Slam winners in the history of tennis with 18 titles in singles, 31 in doubles and 10 in the mixed doubles.

“When you make history you do it at one level or two. Emma is doing it at so many levels,” she said.
“You can’t even think about the repercussions. We’ve been hyping her up but it’s happening. She’s backing it up.”

Former world No.4 Tim Henman, who is working for Amazon Prime during the US Open, describes the achievements of his compatriot as ‘staggering.’ Prior to this year’s tournament, Raducanu had never played a top 20 player on the Tour. However, in New York, she has scored back-to-back straight sets wins over Belinda Bencic and Sakkari.

“It’s an absolutely staggering performance,” Henman told Amazon Prime. “If we just look at the way she came out and played, her quality of tennis from start to finish, she was so resilient. She never flinched.
“She never let up. It was relentless. And then you’ve got to throw in the scenario of being a qualifier, an 18-year-old, with all the legends who have ever played this game at Grand Slam level. She is the first person to qualify and reach the final. It’s simply stunning.
“She deserves all the credit in the world. On the biggest stage in our sport at every opportunity she plays on her terms. It’s incredible to watch. She’ll need to enjoy this tonight and then get ready for Saturday.”

1997 US Open men’s runner-up Greg Rusedski added to Henman’s praise with his own remarks.

I’m dumbfounded. That performance was worthy of a world No 1, a US Open champion, a multiple Grand Slam champion,” he said.
“The composure, the belief, the handling of the big points. This is her first Grand Slam semi-final and it was like she was playing in the first round. It was astonishing.”

Seeking to become the first British woman to win the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968, Raducanu faces a tough test in the final against fellow rising star Leylah Fernandez who has already defeated three top five seeds in the tournament.

The women’s final will take place on Saturday.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Botic Van de Zandschulp beats Joao Sousa to reach the second round in Tel Aviv

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Botic Van de Zandschulp cruised past Joao Sousa 6-2 6-3 to reach the second round at the Tel Aviv Watergen Open. Van de Zandschulp won 83% of his first serve points and hit 28 winners to Sousa’s six. 

 

The Dutchman will face Liam Broady, who Serbian wild-card Hamad Medjedovic 7-5 6-3. 

Tomas Martin Etchevery edged past 2021 Australian Open semifinalist Aslan Karatsev 6-2 6-7 (0-7) 6-4  scoring the biggest win of his career. 

Arthur Rinderknech came back from one set down to beat Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-3. Rinderknech set up a second round against third seed Diego Schwartzman. 

Emil Ruusuvuori broke serve five times in his 6-3 6-2 win over J.J Wolf. 

Sebastian Korda beat Turkish qualifier Cem Ilkel 6-4 6-4 setting up a second round match against Maxime Cressy. Novak Djokovic is the top seed of the Tel Aviv tournament, which returns for the first time since 2021.

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Holger Rune reaches the second round at the Sofia Open

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Danish Next Gen rising star Holger Rune edged past Tim Van Rijthoven 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (8-6) to reach the second round at the Sofia Open in his first appearance at this tournament. 

 

Both players went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break. Rune earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-2. 

The second set started with a trade of breaks in the first two games. There was little to separate both players in the next games, which went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break of the second set and won the final three points to close out the second set 8-6. 

Rune won his first title in Munich and reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter final at Roland Garros. 

 “I did not want to go to three sets. I had the break and led 5-2 in the second set tie-break. If it had happened, I was going to fight for sure and try to take it in three, but I am very happy to win in two. I am really working hard every day and trying to improve any small things I can. I think today I stayed very focused all the time. I lost my focus one time on serve, when maybe I should not have been broken, but other than that I am very happy with my first match. The first match is always a  bit difficult”, said Rune. 

Australia’s Alexander Vukic beat Fabio Fognini 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 after 1 hour and 11 minutes. Vukic broke serve in the fifth game to take a 4-2 lead. Fognini converted his fourth break-back point to draw level to 4-4 before saving a break point at 5-5. Fognini went up a 6-3 lead, but he wasted six set points in the tie-break. Vukic closed out the tie-break 13-11 on his third set point. 

Fognini earned a break to take a 2-1 lead. Vukic broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2 in the fourth game. Fognini lost four consecutive points from 4-5 30-0. Vukic earned the decisive break on his first match point to seal the second set 7-5. 

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