Emma Raducanu in the first round of the 2021 US Open, New York, USA
Emma Raducanu in the first round of the 2021 US Open, New York, USA | (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Tennis | US Open 2021 | Emma Raducanu wins on main draw debut and faces Zhang Shuai in second round

  • Emma Raducanu def. Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 6-3
  • Faces Zhang Shuai | H2H: Zhang leads 1-0
NEW YORK, USA – Emma Raducanu is the last British woman standing in the women’s singles as she advanced to the second round on her debut.


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Emma Raducanu def. Stefanie Voegele 6-2, 6-3

It seems like the Emma Raducanu mania that hit Wimbledon earlier this year is continuing over the pond as crowds gathered to road the teenager home in her first US Open main draw win. Having prepared to face Jennifer Brady, she found herself instead facing the slightly higher ranked Stefanie Voegele came in as a lucky loser.

Although the score-line might suggest otherwise, Raducanu had to come from a break down in each set to get in top, and it was a lucky seventh match point that finally clinched it for her.

As reported in USOpen.org: “I was very up for my match against Brady. I heard I was playing Voegele, and I had to prep last minute, but I was just focused on my game and what I could control. I think I served well today, which helped me settle into the match. I got a few cheap points on my serve, I felt very comfortable out there and the crowd were very welcoming.”


H2H & Match Fundamentals

Emma Raducanu v Zhang Shuai H2H: Zhang leads 1-0
US Open New York, USA
Hard (O) Prize Money: $115,000
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Tale of the Tape – Key Stats (2021 – Hard)

Embed from Getty Images
H2H: Emma Raducanu (WR 150) Zhang Shuai (WR 49)
Tournament Previous Best Debut R3 (2016-17, 2019)
1st Serve Return Points Won % 44.9 32.7
Return Points Won % 49.2 41.4
Break Point Conversion % 42.9 38.1
Break Points Saved % 50 59.4
Total Points Won % 54.1 49.3

Zhang has had a bit of a variable year, shown in the fact that she only tops Raducanu in one statistic – saving break points against her. Everything else shows that Raducanu has the weapons to give Zhang a solid run for her money in this rematch.


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Playing Styles & Prediction

On paper this is certainly a decent match up for Raducanu, and she knows she has generated a lot of interest with the US crowd. However, when they met in San Jose, the Brit had been given a wildcard into her first tournament since her Wimbledon withdrawal and it was a handy straight-sets win for Zhang.

Since then, Raducanu dropped to an ITF where she came through qualifying and went to the quarter-final, before the WTA 125 in Chicago where was the runner-up in the final.

Zhang is reasonably solid, and of course what counts in more experience when it comes to shot-making decisions while Raducanu took the seven match-point epic in her stride, feeding off the crowd before finally getting over the line.

Her hard-hitting style will have to adapt a little but she knows her opponent well.

She said: “I know Zhang and we speak quite a lot whenever we see each other in Mandarin. She’s a very nice girl and we get on really well. She’s a great player.

“We played in San Jose and it was my first tournament on the hard courts here. She outplayed me that day, so I’m going into this next match with the learnings that I took away from the last one, and hopefully it’s going to be a good rematch. I’m looking forward to it, and I feel like I’ve come quite far with my game since we last played.”

Prediction: Raducanu in three sets.


No joy for Watson, Dart, Konta and Boulter

There was so much joy in the fact that there would be five British women in the main draw of the US Open, but that was very short lived.

Shortly before the start of the action. Johanna Konta was the first casualty, withdrawing from the tournament with a thigh injury. It has been a very frustrating year for the Brit who will drop down the rankings and will be replaced at the top by Heather Watson.

Heather Watson seemed to have gained a little momentum coming through qualifying in Cincinnati and acquitting herself well against World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the second round, but had to retire in her first round match in Chicago. It was a comfortable straight sets win for Kaja Juvan, 6-1, 6-4.

Harriet Dart struck first against former World No. 4 Caroline Garcia, winning a tight tie-break, before the Frenchwoman got on top of the match to win 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-2.

Katie Boulter came through two tough latter rounds of qualifying and was handily dispatched by Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-2.


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