Emma Raducanu is on the brink of completing one of the most remarkable sporting fairytales after reaching the US Open final.
Raducanu’s victory over Maria Sakkari has catapulted her to huge sporting stardom after she entered the event as a mere qualifier.
She’s just 18-years-old and this is just her second Grand Slam event. So, how has she done it and what is her back story?
The Raducanu story
Raducanu lives in Bromley, Kent with her family.
She was born in Toronto, Canada on November 13, 2002 to Romanian father Ian and mother Renee who originated from Shenyang in China before moving to England as a toddler.
Emma Raducanu has become the first British female tennis player to reach the US Open Final since Virginia Wade in 1968.
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Her talents did not stop at only tennis as she grew up juggling the hectic lifestyle of ballet, horse riding, swimming and go-karting during her formative years before settling on her current sport, which she took up at the age of five after her parents starting playing at a local park.
She enjoyed a successful junior career, reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open and US Open and also won three ITF Circuit titles between May 2018 and December 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic halted her progression and Raducanu decided to focus on her studies.
But as restrictions eased, Raducanu returned to the tennis court under the tutelage of coach Nigel Sears, father-in-law of three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray, ahead of the grass-court season.
She had attempted to qualify for Wimbledon in 2018 and 2019 but fell at the first hurdle, but the 2021 tournament would see a new star born as the 18-year-old, who was ranked 338 in the world rankings, advanced to the fourth round following victories over Vitalia Diatchenko, Marketa Vondrousova and Sorana Cirstea.
Her commanding performances on court and calm demeanour off it saw her become an instant hit with British fans, who supported her after she was forced to withdraw from her clash with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.
Sears departed despite their Wimbledon success and he was replaced with Andrew Richardson, who was one of her youth coaches.
Raducanu reached the final of the WTA 125 event in Chicago but lost to Denmark’s Clara Tauson to climb inside the world’s top 150, but more was yet to come.
She breezed through US Open qualifying without dropping a set to reach the main draw before defeating Stefanie Voegele and Zhang Shuai, who beat Raducanu in a WTA event at the Silicon Valley Classic in August, and Sara Sorribes Tormo – all in straight sets – to reach the last 16 at her second successive grand slam.
Her run continued with victory over Shelby Rogers to make the last eight, where she faced the toughest test of her career against Tokyo 2020 women’s singles champion Belinda Bencic.
However, a brilliant 6-3 6-4 win saw her climb to world number 51, become British number one and book her spot in the semi-finals.
But more records were going to be broken.
A stirring 6-1 6-4 success over Maria Sakkari saw her become the first qualifier, male or female, to reach a grand slam final, the first British woman to reach a grand slam final in 44 years and first British woman to reach the US Open final in 53 years – the latter two since Virginia Wade, who was at Arthur Ashe to witness Raducanu’s dominant last-four victory.