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British teenager Emma Raducanu's rapid rise in the tennis world has continued at the US Open, where the 18-year-old is celebrating a stunning career first.
Raducanu shot to stardom when she made her grand slam debut at Wimbledon in July, where her memorable run to the last-16 earned her a legion of fans.
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Playing in her first overseas grand slam tournament, the young Londoner marked another special moment in blossoming career with a common doing win over Stefanie Vogele in the first round.
Raducanu said she is playing free from pressure and considered her campaign at Flushing Meadows a "free swing".
The teenage star played without fear in a victory that contained 24 winners in a one hour and 18 minutes on Court 17
Incredibly, Raducanu only sat A-Level exams a few months ago but her class belied her tender age against an opponent 13 years her senior.
The 18-year-old's latest victory at a major saw fans hail the exciting talent on social media.
— WTA Appreciation (@WTAPlayerFan) August 31, 2021
— Sports Freak (@OfficialSfreak) September 1, 2021
Woke up to miss raducanu’s first main draw win at the us open i’m so happy for my girlie
— héloïse (@swollentonsils_) August 31, 2021
— laura (@jiwanxsol) August 31, 2021
I’m on the Raducanu train I can’t help it.
— Amy Andrews (@AmyJAndrews) August 31, 2021
“I feel like I am learning so much, being around these players and hitting with them, I feel like I am absorbing it all, so I don’t feel any pressure. It is all a free swing and bonus for me because I don’t have anything to lose," she said.
“Still everything is so new to me and I just love New York, the buzz and everything. Walking around the city, it is such an amazing experience. I am just enjoying it and I want to stay here as long as possible so I will keep fighting.”
The Briton showed few nerves early on but had to recover from being broken in her second service game on her main draw debut at Flushing Meadows.
Yet it only seemed to spark the 18-year-old into life and she reeled off 12 of the next 13 points to clinch the opening set in 27 minutes, with one backhand winner in particular a highlight.
Raducanu continued to be dominate as temperatures hit 29 degrees and while she was again broken early into the second set, she regrouped and eventually sealed a spot in the last 64 at the seventh time of asking against an opponent who replaced 13th seed Jennifer Brady a day before the first-round tie.
“I was very up for my match against Brady, we were on the Louis Armstrong Stadium and I was looking forward to being on the big stage again,” the world number 150 insisted.
“At the last minute I heard I was playing Vogele, so I had to prep last minute but I was just focused on my game and what I could control. I felt I served very well which helped me settle into the match and I got some cheap points.
“I think it is obviously a difficult thing to serve out your first US Open main-draw win, so that lack of experience probably showed a bit at the end. My right arm was feeling a bit heavy but I was happy to get over line. Overall I thought I played a good match, with a high level.”
Next up for Briton’s newest star is a rematch with China’s Zhang Shuai, who beat the youngster 6-3 6-2 at the Silicon Valley Classic at the beginning of August.
Raducanu, who revealed she speaks Mandarin with her Chinese mother, said: “I know Zhang, we speak quite a lot in Mandarin whenever we see each other.
“We got on well and she is a great player. I played her in San Jose, it was my first game on the hard courts.
“I am going into it this time with the learning from our first one. Hopefully it can be a good rematch and I feel I have come quite far with my game since.”
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