Yesterday at Flushing Meadows, history was made.
Indeed, by beating Maria Sakkari, Emma Raducanu became the youngest British tennis player to reach the final of the US Open in the Open era. Winning in straight sets, the 18-year-old wrote her name into tennis folklore.
So, stood on the brink of superstardom already, it’s worth taking a look back at what brought Raducanu to this point.
Born in Toronto, Canada to a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, she moved to England at the age of two and started playing tennis three years later. Living in the London Borough of Bromley, Raducanu idolised Simona Halep and Li Na growing up.
A talented student, she attended Newstead Wood School in Greater London before achieving an A* in maths and an A in economics A-Levels.
Turning professional in 2018, Raducanu made her WTA Tour Main Draw debut at the 2021 Nottingham Open, gaining entry as a wildcard. From there, she gained entry to the Wimbledon Championships in June and broke records.
By defeating Vitalia Diatchenko and Markéta Vondroušová, she became the youngest British woman to reach the third round since Elena Baltacha in 2002 and, after winning against Sorana Cîrstea, was the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open Era.
Sadly, Raducanu was forced to retire in the second set of her fourth round meeting with Ajla Tomljanović due to breathing difficulty, calling an end to her championships.
Naturally, her metoric rise was reflected in her rankings. Heading into Wimbledon as World Number 338, she guaranteed a top 185 WTA ranking thanks to her exploits.
Despite Wimbeldon ending in disappointment, the US Open has proven to be a rip-roaring success so far.
On her way to the final, Raducanu hasn’t dropped so much as a set and has moved ahead of Johanna Konta as the highest ranked British woman in the WTA.
Trained by Andrew Richardson after leaving Nigel Spears’ tutorship, it will be fascinating to see how everything develops from here.
While it’s important not to increase the weight of pressure on a teenager’s shoulders, the early signs are more than promising. Britain have a new tennis hero.