Wimbledon 2021: Emma Raducanu, 18, defeats Sorana Cirstea in straight sets to reach fourth round

Wimbledon 2021 on the BBCVenue: All England Club Dates: 28 June-11 JulyCoverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app. Full details here

Emma Raducanu’s dream debut run at Wimbledon continued into the fourth round with victory over Romania’s world number 45 Sorana Cirstea.

Playing on a show court for the first time, she stunned 31-year-old Cirstea by taking eight games in a row.

“I am so speechless right now,” Raducanu said.

“I didn’t know what my reaction would be, and then that just happened. I’m so, so grateful for all the support I had today.

“This is by far the biggest court I’ve played on. I think I coped quite well in the beginning, I just tried to hold my nerve.

“When I was packing to come into the bubble, my parents said, ‘Aren’t you packing too much match kit?’ I think I’m going to have to do some laundry tonight.”

Raducanu becomes the youngest British woman to reach the Wimbledon last 16 in the Open era, and will face Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic next.

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Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu impressed with a strong backhand

A day to remember

If we did not know it before, we do now. There is a new star of British tennis – and her name is Emma Raducanu.

No-one was more shocked than Raducanu herself when she defeated Marketa Vondrousova on Thursday to reach the third round, saying she “felt like she was on holiday”.

Coached by Nigel Sears, Andy Murray’s father-in-law, she was only handed a wildcard into the main draw late on after making her WTA Tour debut at Nottingham earlier in June.

But just hours after Wimbledon heard British legend Andy Murray questioning his future after a third-round exit, it witnessed a new talent breaking through.

And as Raducanu walked on to Court One, she could not help but display a wry smile, looking around at the crowd as she laid out her towel and bag.

But she was not at all fazed by the thousands watching, holding break point in the very first game though missing out on the chance to take first blood.

Cirstea – who played her first Wimbledon when her opponent was just five – broke Raducanu in the fourth game. The young Briton broke back immediately in what was the start of a run that will be long remembered.

She went on to win eight successive games, sealing the first set in the process, and looked to be careering towards a dominant two-set win.

But when Cirstea – who defeated two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka in the previous round – broke back in the fifth game, it looked as though the nerves were starting to creep in.

She held five break points in a near 15-minute game at 3-4 ahead, but it was a moment in the 12th game that perhaps sealed the match for her.

A remarkable backhand winner, that caused her to drop her own racquet in disbelief, was the moment Cirstea’s head dropped, and Raducanu – who hit 30 winners in all – went on to earn her place in the fourth round on her third match point.

In reaching the last 16, she bumps her prize money up to £181,000 – considerably more than her total career earnings before Wimbledon of $39,558 (£28,762).

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu fell to the ground in shock after clinching victory

‘She was fearless from the beginning’

Two-time Grand Slam champion Tracy Austin on BBC TV

She came out and she was fearless from the beginning. She hadn’t won a WTA match until this Wimbledon. To me, she seems like an incredible competitor. She’s able to rebound immediately.

She’s a smart court player, she has the defence, the offence, the even-keeled temperament. Cirstea has had a fabulous spring, and she beat Azarenka and was on a high herself.

Raducanu seems to play with that right level of engagement, clarity of how she wants to play – that’s a very mature match there. Even that last game – it was on her third match point and she stayed calm.

Everybody is going to know who she is overnight. She wasn’t gifted this match – she took this match. She is still going to be ranked outside the world 200. It’s not going to be easy.

We’ve talked about how wide open the tournament is. Tomljanovic hasn’t been this deep in a Slam. If you can beat Cirstea… you can beat Tomljanovic.

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