Written by Staff Writer by, News Reporter for CNN
Raducanu won Italy’s first-ever women’s singles title when she beat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets at the French Open in June
To an amazed Stadium Risostome crowd at the US Open in New York, 18-year-old American wildcard Emma Raducanu announced her arrival in the world game with an impressive victory to win the US Open Girls’ 18 Singles title Thursday evening.
The fifth seed from Italy defeated the “larger-than-life” Czech who slipped to an unexpected defeat in Paris earlier this year.
Raducanu, who has topped the world junior rankings for three years, was given little chance of winning by observers who named world number six Melinda Czink of Hungary the overwhelming favorite to win the last grand slam of the year.
Raducanu, herself a junior, had flopped at Wimbledon this year, opening with two straight-sets defeats before going out in the second round of the junior championships — scoring the tournament’s lowest win-loss ratio of the year — and her lack of experience was too much to overcome against the powerful Czink.
Czink can trace her success back to winning the junior title at Wimbledon in 2014, four years before her eventual senior triumph.
“For some reason I’m missing this feeling, I’m forgetting how good it feels and what I’ve been working so hard for,” she told CNN Sports in an interview last week.
Czink had never been past the third round of a grand slam and said winning on her own territory would have made her “feel like a queen.”
Raducanu was confident of her ability to overcome Czink, but seemed unsure of her own talent, telling AFP in May: “I still don’t feel like I’ve really got it figured out.
“I don’t feel like I’ve reached it yet. I’m still making my own progress, just doing little details that make a big difference.”
Raducanu has made grand slam tournaments her goal and would have definitely been hoping to win an U.S. Open junior title next year, having lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter-finals of the 2009 tournament.
Some voice concerns about the high number of U.S. juniors reaching the top of their game, but some seasoned commentators have backed the youngsters’ progression.
John McEnroe called Emma Raducanu’s victory “crazy,” saying that she had been “arguably the weakest girl in that whole draw” but “seems to be learning week by week.”
The youngest winner in the Open era is Belarusian Victoria Azarenka — the U.S. Open runner-up in 2008 and 2011 — who in 2009 was the only U.S. teen to reach the final.
Raducanu won Italy’s first-ever women’s singles title when she beat Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets at the French Open in June.
The French Open was the only grand slam in which the Italian had progressed beyond the third round, and Rybarikova had beaten her in the third round at the same tournament last year.