Tennis star Emma Raducanu has reached the US open final, becoming the first British woman in a major singles final in 44 years.
The 18-year-old from Bromley, south London, made history as the first-ever qualifier – male or female – to reach the final of a singles Grand Slam tournament.
Raducanu achieved a straight-set win over Greece’s Maria Sakkari in New York, and is now set to play Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez, 19, on Saturday.
The Brit had to fight three qualifying matches before reaching the final.
The last time a British woman reached a major final was when Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977 – and, nine years previously, Wade was also the last British female winner in the US.
Bloody immigrants, coming over here and winning medals for us. https://t.co/1ddhpPHYcV— MrProgressiveAlliance ????????? (@MrYesWeCan) September 10, 2021
Raducanu’s US Open journey is the second major tournament of her career. Earlier this year, she was ranked 361st in the world after her Wimbledon appearance, a month after receiving her A level results.
She became the only British woman playing in the Fourth round of Wimbledon when she took on Romanian tennis player Sorana Cirstea in July.
According to iNews, Raducanu thinks her mental strength is inherited from her parents, who have academic backgrounds. She was born in Toronto to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, and the family moved to Kent when she was two years old.
But she told PA news agency that despite having lived in London, she has fond memories of visiting her grandmother in Romania: “My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple times a year, stay with her, see her. It’s really nice.
“I love the food, to be honest. I mean, the food is unbelievable. And my grandma’s cooking is also something special. I do have ties to Bucharest.”
She admitted her parents raised were “tough on her as a kid”.
She said: “They have been pushy to an extent, not just in tennis but in everything. I think that I’ve developed that mentality since a young age.”
She added: “I would say the biggest thing is that I’m quite gritty. In a match I would say that’s my biggest strength. In those tight situations in a match I just don’t want to let it go.
“I like it in a match when I feel like it gets clutch, those situations when it really gets exciting. I quite like playing in those tight situations because it challenges me and tests how mentally strong I am.”
Raducanu has been taking inspiration from two women in tennis in particular, who reflect her parents’ background: Romania’s Simona Halep and China’s Li Na.