Can Raducanu back up her US Open performance?

Lower than one month in the past, Emma Raducanu wasn’t even dreaming of attending the Met Gala – or the mind-boggling idea of two million Instagram followers.

No, she was simply an 18-year-old Londoner attempting to determine a foothold within the demanding enterprise {of professional} tennis. After which, in opposition to ridiculous odds, she gained 10 straight matches on the Billie Jean King Nationwide Tennis Middle (taking all 20 units) to turn out to be the primary qualifier to win a significant title. And so, her world modified perpetually.

Indian Wells: Scores | Attracts | Order of play

“It felt good to obtain the help, everybody’s good messages and sort phrases,” Raducanu mentioned earlier this week at Indian Wells. “However I didn’t get too caught up in it.

“I simply targeted on my tennis and my coaching.”

There was so much to get caught up in.

The British authorities, together with the Garden Tennis Affiliation – moved by the success of Raducanu and fellow Britons and US Open champions Joe Salisbury, Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett – pledged to spend greater than 30 million kilos to refurbish public courts. There was a doubles match with Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, and a parting of the way with coach Andrew Richardson.

Learn extra: Raducanu, Gauff speak Indian Wells debuts, teaching and social media

Raducanu’s ascent was so startling, so steep, that she wanted a wildcard into the BNP Paribas predominant draw, though she is now ranked No.22 amongst WTA gamers and is seeded No.17. Raducanu, who acquired a first-round bye, meets Aliaksandra Sasnovich, a 6-0, 6-4 winner over Maria Camila Osorio Serrano on Friday.

One of many early headlines relating to the draw was this little magnificence: If the seeds maintain, it could by Raducanu in opposition to two-time main champion Simona Halep within the third spherical. How’s that for speedy testing?

First issues first, although. Raducanu and Sasnovich have by no means met, which isn’t stunning contemplating Raducanu’s exceedingly spare observe report. Extremely, that is solely her third formal WTA occasion. Again in June, Nottingham – sandwiched between two ITF occasions – was the primary. She adopted that up with a exceptional fourth-round look as a Wimbledon wildcard. Raducanu misplaced within the first spherical at San Jose after receiving one other wildcard, then certified (her rating was No.184) for one more ITF occasion in Pennsylvania, reaching the quarterfinals. She superior to the finals of the Chicago 125 occasion, dropping to fellow 18-year-old Clara Tauson, every week earlier than the US Open started.

Indian Wells 2021: Attracts, prize cash, storylines and every little thing it’s worthwhile to know

After the triumph in New York, Raducanu’s dance card crammed up rapidly. She’s dedicated to Indian Wells (a WTA 1000), Moscow (500), Cluj-Napoca (250) and Linz (250) – all within the subsequent 5 weeks. Which units up an intriguing chance, for Raducanu is abruptly No.15 within the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals. She’s 489 factors behind No.8 Naomi Osaka, on the floor, a distance she’s able to closing.

Heading into Indian Wells, Raducanu now seems to be one of many favorites to go far, if not win it.

Just like the Met Gala, one thing that didn’t appear doable a month in the past.

Conscious that a variety of gamers earlier than her have struggled to take care of these nice expectations following a significant championship, Raducanu says she’s doing her finest to not purchase into the hype.

“What received me thus far isn’t pondering something in another way,” she mentioned. “If I simply put further ideas in my head, then that may simply create an issue. I’m simply going to maintain occurring about my enterprise and keep the identical.”

No.23 Leylah Fernandez vs. Alize Cornet

The opposite teenaged US Open finalist can also be on courtroom Friday for the primary time since her astonishing run.

Fernandez’s path to the ultimate in New York was much more spectacular than Raducanu’s. She  defeated No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, No.3 Naomi Osaka and No.5 Elina Svitolina earlier than falling to Raducanu 4-6, 3-6.

Within the first spherical at Indian Wells, Cornet defeated Elena Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 7-6 (5).

Fernandez and Cornet have by no means performed.

Different notable Friday matches:

No.2 Iga Swiatek vs. Petra Martic: Swiatek, who has gained two titles this season, is searching for a powerful displaying to bolster her spot within the Race Leaderboard. Presently, she sits at No.7. 

No.4 Elina Svitolina vs. Tereza Martincova: This might be their first assembly. Svitolina was a semifinalist at Indian Wells in 2019, the final time the match was performed. 

No.7 Petra Kvitova vs. Arantxa Rus: Rus dropped just one sport in her opening match at Indian Wells. She not too long ago reached the ultimate of a WTA 125 in Belgrade and has gained three of the previous 4 occasions she has performed on the ITF circuit. 

No.8 Belinda Bencic vs. Shelby Rogers: Since successful the gold medal, Bencic has performed 5 occasions and reached the quarterfinals in every, together with the US Open. Rogers has strung collectively a stable season, which features a third-round win in opposition to Ashleigh Barty in New York. 

No.9 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Madison Keys: They’ve cut up their 4 profession head-to-head conferences, however Pavlyuchenkova is available in because the extra in-form participant, whereas Keys ended a five-match dropping streak with a straight-sets win in opposition to Kaia Kanepi on Wednesday. 

No.11 Simona Halep vs. Marta Kostyuk: Halep returns to the courtroom for the primary time since falling within the fourth spherical of the US Open. She was the 2015 champion within the desert, the place she beat Serena Williams and Jelena Jankovic within the closing two matches. 

No.19 Jessica Pegula vs. Sloane Stephens: This would be the first time these two People meet on tour. Stephens gained a difficult match in her Indian Wells opener, the place she got here again from a set right down to beat Heather Watson 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-1.



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