Youth was served Saturday as teenagers Emma Raducanu and Coco Gauff advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
Home-crowd favorite Raducanu, 18, became the first British teenager to move to the round of 16 since Laura Robson did it in 2013 and just the fourth overall when she beat Sorana Cirstea of Romania 6-3, 7-5.
Gauff, 17, posted a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kaja Juvan of Slovenia in just 65 minutes. The No. 20 seed, Gauff was named to the US Olympic team this week and followed her quarterfinal berth at the French Open last month with her place in the final 16.
For world No. 338 Radacanu, who entered the tournament as the lowest-ranked woman in the main draw, the win was overwhelming.
“My emotions were, I just couldn’t put them into words really,” Raducanu said after the match. “I was so overwhelmed. The last point, I kind of just dropped my racquet and fell to the floor. It was just also instinctive and in the moment. I had no idea what just happened. Right now I’m on such a buzz and such a high.”
Radacanu said her wish heading into the match was to have fun. And that she did, hitting 30 winners to 18 by Cirstea. The Brit also converted five of her 16 break chances on the day.
“I knew Sorana was a very tough opponent,” Raducanu said. “I just thought that playing on Court 1 at Wimbledon is what you dream of. Not many people get the opportunity to. I was like, ‘Wow, this is such an experience, such an opportunity.’
“I just thought, ‘Well, I’m just going to go out there and have fun.’ I really think I did. I’d never played such good tennis in some of the points. I was just having so much fun.”
Raducanu fell behind early 3-1 but then won eight straight games to win the first set and take a 3-0 lead in the second.
Next up for Raducanu with the quarterfinals on the line is Ajla Tomljanovic, who defeated Latvian Jelena Ostapenko, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. That match became contentious when Tomljanovic accused Ostapenko, who was down 4-0 in the third set, of faking an injury to break the Aussie’s stride.
“If you think I’m faking it, you can talk with the physio,” Ostapenko said. “Your behavior is terrible. You have zero respect.”
Tomljanovic responded: “You’re one to talk.”
Playing on Center Court, Gauff matched her London feat of 2019, when she reached the fourth round at age 15. She now has reached the fourth round or better in four of her eight main-draw appearances in a Grand Slam tournament.
It’s time to vote for your @HSBC_Sport Play of the Day: https://t.co/w5Eq5ZUDUp
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 3, 2021
Gauff entered Saturday’s match with a 1-1 career mark against Juvan but cruised past her in this match on the strength of five breaks in seven chances. In the next round, she will meet Angelique Kerber of Germany, a former world No. 1 who is the only one of five past Wimbledon champions in the women’s draw still in the tournament.
There were no surprises in women’s play on Saturday, as No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia defeated Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 7-5 behind eight aces, four service breaks and strong play at the net. She will have a tough competitor in the next match as she faces French Open champion Barbora Krejcíkova of the Czech Republic, the No. 14 seed, who defeated Latvian Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 (1), 3-6, 7-5.
As for Kerber, the No. 25 seed, she topped Aliaksandra Sasnovic of Belarus 2-6, 6-0, 6-1 to advance to play Gauff. Sasnovic broke the German’s serve in Kerber’s first two service games to take a 4-0 lead, but Kerber quickly found the answers, winning 14 of the next 17 games to win the match.
Kerber had 22 winners and seven unforced errors, compared to 26 and 25, respectively for Sasnovic.
“She played really well in the first few games, but then I started going out there starting from zero, not thinking about the score,” said Kerber, who moved into the second week of a Grand Slam tournament for the 22nd time.
In other action, No. 19 seed Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic ousted the Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-3.
No. 30 seed Paula Badosa of Spain needed three sets to eliminate Magda Linette of Poland 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 and set up a fourth-round meeting with Muchova.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.