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Emma Raducanu entered the U.S. Open as an underdog and emerged a global phenomenon.
Driving force: Raducanu showed tenacity throughout her U.S. Open campaign, winning 20 consecutive sets in 10 matches, partly because she wanted to buy herself a new pair of AirPods.
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) September 11, 2021
- The 2021 U.S. Open champ shared with ESPN her team’s “running joke” that her motivation to win was to get new AirPods.
- Raducanu said that when she lost her AirPods minutes before her first-round qualifying match, it became her mission to win enough prize money to buy herself new ones.
- The $2.5 million prize money she received after winning her first Grand Slam title on Saturday should be more than enough for her modest aspiration. A pair of Airpods with a wireless charging case retails for $199 on Apple’s website.
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- To enter the tournament’s main draw, Raducanu had to beat Bibiane Schoofs, Mariam Bolkvadze, and Mayar Sherif in straight sets in the qualifying round.
- She was able to reach the final by defeating Stefanie Voegele, Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Shelby Rogers, Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari.
- Ranked world No. 150 at the start of the tournament, Raducanu gained over 100 ranking places by the end, rising to No. 23 after beating Fernandez. She has since replaced Johanna Konta as the British women’s singles No. 1.
- Raducanu, who won the U.S. Open without dropping a single set, became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam tournament.
- With Wimbledon 2021 being her only previous Grand Slam entry, she is also the first woman in the Open Era to win a Slam tournament with only two appearances.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021
- In an interview before the final, she noted that her Chinese mom “definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline.”
- She also revealed that she was inspired by the now-retired and former world No. 2 Li Na. She described the tennis star as “such a fierce competitor.”
- After her victory, she gave her Chinese fans a shoutout with a message in Mandarin: “Hello everyone, I’d like to say thank you. I hope you liked watching my tennis. I’m very, very happy right now…Thank you, I love you!”
- The video clip of her Mandarin message has been viewed over a million times on Weibo.
- Her Grand Slam win became a trending topic on Chinese social media, with the hashtag, “18-year-old ethnic Chinese young player wins US open championship,” generating over 200 million views.
- “Her grandma in Shenyang must be proud of her, and we people in Shenyang are also proud of her,” one Weibo user wrote.
Featured Image via US Open Tennis Championships