Emma Raducanu reaches first round of US Open in style as 18-year-old beats Egyptian Mayar Sherif – ranked 55 places above her – in straight sets in Flushing Meadows qualifier
- Emma Raducanu qualified for the US Open by winning third straight qualifier
- Raducanu, 18, beat highly fancied World No 95 Mayar Sherif 6-1, 6-4
- Her form in US has shown that what happened at Wimbledon was no aberration
- Andy Murray has been preparing for his first round against Stefanos Tsitsipas
This time there has been no grass, no wildcard and no supportive crowd for Emma Raducanu, but once again she has won three straight matches at a Grand Slam.
Last night the prize for that was not a place in the last 16 of Wimbledon, but the first round of the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
In other words making the main draw of a Major on merit for the first time. Raducanu did it in some style by beating one of the best players she could have met, skipping over the last hurdle in the qualifying event.
Emma Raducanu qualified for the US Open first round with a blistering win over Mayar Sherif
The 18-year-old beat Sherif, who is ranked 55 places above her, 6-1, 6-4 in sweltering heat
The 18-year-old, from Kent, proved her resilience by coming through in steaming temperatures, beating world No 95 Mayar Sherif, of Egypt, 6-1, 6-4.
It took her just 73 minutes to dismiss someone nominally ranked 55 places above her, although it is clear that Raducanu’s level is already that of someone inside the top 100.
It becomes ever more startling to think that three months ago she was barely known outside the cognoscenti of the British game. She even failed to be given a wildcard in the initial batch handed out by Wimbledon because they were worried about her lack of matches or form.
Now, in the harsh testing grounds of the American summer hard court circuit, she has shown that what happened at Wimbledon was no aberration.
Away from the suffocating glare of SW19 it appears that she has already improved further, and certainly she has answered questions about her durability. Sherif, who enjoys household name status in her home country, is one of this season’s climbers and was only just outside the main draw.
Despite that she lost the first set in only 24 minutes, unable to cope with an opponent whose game has little in the way of discernible weaknesses.
Raducanu’s form in the USA has shown that what happened at Wimbledon was no aberration
Most eyecatching was the quality of Raducanu’s serving. Her percentage of first deliveries landing in was 79 per cent and she faced just one break point. The coming week, on the most even-handed of surfaces, will give further indications of exactly where she is at.
Andy Murray was on the practice courts on Friday preparing for his first round against third seed with Stefanos Tsitsipas, which will be played on Monday.
The 34-year-old Scot postponed his pre-tournament press conference from Friday until later today, and one report suggested he had been deep in conversation with his support team.
Given his uncertain fitness, and how often he has withdrawn from tournaments in recent years, that fired speculation about whether he will take his place in the tournament. However, it was also claimed that the postponement was purely a logistical matter of working around his practice.
All of Britain’s five players who gained direct acceptance into the main draw — Murray, Dan Evans, Cam Norrie, Jo Konta and Heather Watson — are due to play on the opening day, with former champion Murray due to be on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Last year’s beaten finalist, Alex Zverev, last night angrily denied further reports that he had been physically abusive towards a former girlfriend. The 24-year-old German said he had instructed lawyers to sue over the claims, which refer to alleged incidents on tour the months shortly before the pandemic hit.
Issuing a ‘categoric and unequivocal’ denial, he added ‘I also fully support the creation of an ATP domestic violence policy.’
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