Raducanu, Konjuh reach US Open main draw after final day of qualies

The field for the 2021 US Open is set as 16 qualifiers and three lucky losers punched their tickets into the main draw of the year’s final Grand Slam tournament on Friday.

One-hundred-twenty-eight players started the US Open qualifying event Tuesday, and the field was whittled down to the last 16 winners, with top seed Ana Konjuh and rising British teenager Emma Raducanu amongst the players who battled through three rounds successfully.

Read more: Out of the spotlight, Raducanu engineers career surge in U.S.

No.1 seed Konjuh swept into the US Open main draw for the first time since 2017, defeating No.18 seed Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, 6-2, 6-2. Konjuh’s best Grand Slam performance to date is a run to the 2016 US Open quarterfinals at age 18.

Konjuh cracked the Top 20 the next year before injuries curtailed her results, but the Croat is now back inside the Top 100, and she showed off that form with her 60-minute victory over Voegele. Konjuh won 84 percent of her first-service points and saved both break points she faced in the clash.

Konjuh will face Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in a first-round clash next week.

Joining Konjuh in the main draw will be Raducanu, the 18-year-old Brit who had a breakthrough trip to the round of 16 at Wimbledon this summer. No.31 seed Raducanu powered past No.4 seed Mayar Sherif of Egypt, 6-1, 6-4, in Friday’s marquee match.

Sherif has had a historic run this summer, becoming the first Egyptian woman to both reach a WTA singles final and crack the Top 100. But Raducanu has kept her strong form rolling since Wimbledon, and on Friday she ousted Sherif in an hour and 14 minutes.

Raducanu converted four of her 11 break points in the tilt. She won 78 percent of her first-service points while also claiming 57 percent of Sherif’s first-service points, as she rolled to victory.

Raducanu will now face No.13 seed Jennifer Brady, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, in an intriguing first-round clash in the main draw.

Sherif will also be in the main draw, as she did end up garnering a spot as one of the three lucky losers. She will face Anhelina Kalinina in the opening round.

Meanwhile, it turned out to be a perfect day for Great Britain, as their players went 3-0: No.32 seed Harriet Dart and Katie Boulter also won their final-round qualifying matches in three-set tussles.

No.2 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and No.3 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz also qualified with straight-set wins on Friday. Parrizas Diaz of Spain, who cracked the Top 100 for the first time earlier this month at age 30, beat Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani, 6-3, 6-2, for her Grand Slam main-draw debut.

Former Top 30 player Schmiedlova of Slovakia defeated 16-year-old American Reese Brantmeier, 7-6(5), 6-3. Brantmeier served for the first set at 6-5, but Schmiedlova regrouped and fought back to claim her only straight-set win of the week. Her first two rounds averaged just under three hours.

No.7 seed Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania, who reached two WTA singles finals this summer, winning the Hamburg title and finishing runner-up in Palermo, extended her hot streak. She defeated Federica Di Sarra of Italy, 6-3, 6-0, to reach the main draw.

However, No.5 seed Oceane Dodin of France and No.6 seed Greet Minnen of Belgium were upset. Cristina Bucsa of Spain beat Dodin, 6-4, 6-4, and resurgent Canadian Rebecca Marino ousted Minnen, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

Marino, a former Top 40 player a decade ago, will take on No.5 seed Elina Svitolina in the first round of the main draw.

The full list of qualifiers and lucky losers can be found below:

US Open Qualifiers
Ana Konjuh (CRO)
Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (SVK)
Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP)
Emma Raducanu (GBR)
Cristina Bucșa (ESP)
Rebecca Marino (CAN)
Elena-Gabriela Ruse (ROU)
Katie Boulter (GBR)
Valentini Grammatikopoulou (GRE)
Astra Sharma (AUS)
Kristyna Pliskova (CZE) 
Harriet Dart (GBR)
Olga Danilovic (SRB)
Dalma Galfi (HUN)
Rebeka Masarova (ESP)
Jamie Loeb (USA)

Lucky Losers
Mayar Sherif (EGY)
Viktoriya Tomova (BUL)
Kristina Kucova (SVK)

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