Raducanu makes history as she reaches last 16
• 4 MINUTE READ
Emma Raducanu became the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 of The Championships, Wimbledon in the Open Era following a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Romania’s Sorana Cîrstea.
The 18-year-old from Bromley, Kent, put on a display on her first appearance on Court 1 at SW19 smashing 30 winners as she swept aside World No. 45 Cîrstea in straight sets.
The young British star is currently on the LTA’s Pro Scholarship Programme (PSP), the LTA’s highest level of support. This means players can access individually tailored support and world class coaching from the LTA Performance Team both at home and on Tour.
And against Cîrstea she showed off the full extent of her game as she claimed her second victory over a top-50 player at Wimbledon – the teenager also hasn’t dropped a set so far this week.
Raducanu applied the pressure from the outset – winning a break point in the opening game – and although she couldn’t convert her aggressive returning would be a constant thorn in the side of Cîrstea.
The young Brit went 30-0 up on Cîrstea’s next service game, but after the Romanian held Raducanu found herself under pressure – a double fault handing her opponent two break points.
Raducanu saved one with an ace, but Cîrstea’s powerful backhand helped her wrap up the second set to go 3-1 up.
This would be the only time in the contest that Cîrstea led as Raducanu fought back immediately – after taking Cirstea to deuce on serve in the next game she earned her second break point of the match, which she converted with a whipped crossed court forehand that her opponent lashed wide into the tramlines.
After holding serve to love Raducanu broke her experienced opponent again – more relentless returning proving to be too much – and before she knew it Raducanu had taken the first set after winning five games in a row, she sealed the opening set with a pinpoint lob.
At the start of the second set Raducanu extended her winning streak to seven games – sealing her fourth break of the match with a backhand winner down the line.
Seven games in a row quickly became eight with the young Brit racing ahead to a 3-0 lead, and she almost went 4-0 ahead after going 40-0 up on the Cîrstea serve.
But Raducanu didn’t have it all her own way – going from 40-0 and 3-0 up to level again at 3-3 after Cîrstea held serve twice and broke the 18-year-old back.
Following a gutsy hold Raducanu again continued to attack Cîrstea’s serve in what was the standout game of the match, which went on for just under 15 minutes.
After saving two break points Cîrstea took the game to deuce – with Raducanu repeatedly hitting winners to keep the game going and, despite some extraordinary shot making from the Brit, Cîrstea was able to hold to take the match to 4-4.
In the end Raducanu’s power proved to be too much and she was able to break Cîrstea again to clinch the set 7-5, winning another lengthy game on her third match point to progress into the last 16.
“Honestly, I’m so speechless right now,” she said. “I didn’t know what my reaction would be if I won. I’m so grateful for the support I’ve had today. Just to stay here for another day and play in front of this crowd is amazing.
“At the beginning I was nervous. This is by far the biggest court I’ve played on so I think that I coped quite well in the beginning.
“It was a tight match and I was 3-1 down at the start of the first set, but I just tried to hold my nerve and the crowd really got me through in the second set, and the whole match really.
“At the beginning when I came into the bubble my parents were like ‘aren’t you packing too many sets of match kit?’ I think I’m going to have to do some laundry tonight!”
Also in action today was British No.2 Cam Norrie who put up a good fight against Roger Federer before losing 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.
The 25-year-old Brit, who was the first player to graduate from the LTA's Pro-Scholarship Programme at the end of 2019, found himself two sets down against Federer but he rallied well to grind his way back into the match by breaking late in the third to clinch it 7-5.
In the fourth and final set Norrie exchanged breaks with Federer to reach 3-3, but in the end the eight-time champion perservered after withstanding some serious pressure from the Brit to break again and take the set, and the match.