Emma Raducanu has revealed she generously “gifted” her historic US Open trophy to the Lawn Tennis Association, as “a special token of appreciation” for the support she receives from the sport’s national governing body.
Photos of the 18-year-old cradling her prize in New York were splashed across newspapers across the globe, but Raducanu had no plans of taking the replica trophy home to sit on the mantelpiece back in Bromley. Instead, she is having it shipped back to the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton so that the LTA can have it proudly displayed at its base.
Raducanu revealed the classy gesture after her 6-3, 6-4 win over Ana Bogdan in Cluj-Napoca, where she was back to her clinical best to progress to her first-ever WTA quarter-final at the Transylvania Open.
“It’s not at home, if you want to see it, it’s at the NTC,” Raducanu said of her trophy in Thursday’s post-match interview. “The LTA have done so much for me, I wanted them to have it as a sign and a big thank you for everything they’ve done, helping me through the young ages. They took control in my development. So, it’s a little gift. I think they’ve done a lot for me so it was just a token of appreciation. A special one.”
Before her breakthrough this year – which included winning £1.8million in prize money at the US Open – Raducanu had long been touted as a future talent for British tennis and began attending LTA camps from the age of 10 years old. She has also been part of the governing body’s scholarship programme for three years, which includes up to £80,000 in grants every year, plus coaching and analysis, nutritionists, physiotherapists and medical expenses.
In a statement, the LTA confirmed that, though the trophy had yet to arrive, it was “honoured” by the gesture and hoped “a new generation of young players will be inspired by seeing the trophy when it arrives at the NTC”.
At Flushing Meadows last month Raducanu made a habit of putting away matches in efficient fashion, not dropping a set during her incredible run from qualifying to the title, and on Thursday showed similar instincts when playing world No 106 Bogdan. She showed little mercy on the court, and coped with a slight scare in the second set to record her second win since New York.
The match began just like Raducanu’s first round, three-set win over Polona Hercog. She steamrolled to a 4-1 lead, as she had done on Tuesday and despite facing three break points in the opening game. This time though she never gave her opponent another look in.
While Bogdan attempted to break Raducanu’s rhythm with a few drop shots and backhand slices in the first set, and was defensively strong, Raducanu reacted well to the variety – even offering some of her own – and took the first set 6-3. Despite breaking Bogdan in the opening game, the second set proved less straightforward. Raducanu did not panic when the Romanian fought back to get on even terms, and the most pivotal game of the match came at 3-3 on Bogdan’s serve.
The Briton took a 30-0 lead, but an incredulous Bogdan complained at length with umpire Kader Nouni that her opponent’s shot had landed “way” long. While she argued and even told him to “pay attention”, Raducanu faced away from the drama and bounced up and down on the spot to keep warm. This intense focus was a key feature of the match, and she was much less hard on herself in moments of frustration than she had been on Tuesday. It paid off as, though Bogdan fought off two break points to push the game to deuce, Raducanu’s clinical cross-court backhands wore her down eventually and the teenager secured the crucial break.
From there she did not look back, finishing with a love-hold game, final score 6-3 6-4. In winning she delayed her long-awaited reunion with her grandmother 88-year-old Niculina, who she says she plans to visit in Bucharest for the first time in two years, once her run at the tournament is over.
But it did edge her one win away from a potential semi-final clash with two-time major champion and her “idol” Simona Halep, who also progressed on Thursday with her 6-4, 6-2 victory over Varvara Gracheva. However, Halep, who has had an injury-plagued season, was forced to take a medical timeout during her match due to intense back pain, raising question marks over the top seed’s ability to recover for her quarterfinal on Friday, against wildcard and compatriot Jaqueline Cristian.
Raducanu will face world No 55 Marta Kostyuk in Friday’s quarter-final, and recalled the Ukrainian previously “destroying” her when they played at junior level.
“Marta is a great opponent, she absolutely destroyed me in the juniors every single time, so it will be an interesting match,” Raducanu said. “We played in juniors, but she was playing full-time on the road from a very young age. She’s developed a lot of skills doing that. I kind of came from behind and caught up this year. She’s a great mover and great athlete. The match up is going to be pretty different because we’ve both come a long way since that young age. I’m looking forward to it.”
Emma Raducanu vs Ana Bogdan, as it happened
Raducanu marches on
Raducanu gifts US Open trophy to LTA
The organisers appear to have time to burn as we’ve now turned to questions about Raducanu attending the recent James Bond premiere and what she thinks of Daniel Craig.
Ever the pro, Raducanu thanks Dior for her gown but then turns matters back to tennis saying her focus is on the court.
Then asked on where she keeps her US Open trophy at home, Raducanu reveals it is actually with the Lawn Tennis Association.
I just thought the LTA had done so much for me and I just wanted them to have it as a sign for everything they had done for me. Yeah, it’s a little gift.
Reaction from Raducanu
It was so good to play a Romanian here. All the volunteers who go into making this tournament possible, we really appreciate their support. Ana was a great opponent.
It’s definitely taking me some time to find my feet still. I’m taking some learnings from every match I play. I still don’t think I’m the finished product yet.
Raducanu* 6-3, 6-4 Bogdan (*denotes server)
No early nerves as a first serve out wide does for Bogdan. A second down the middle is punted back long by the Romanian. 30-0.
She’s pulling out all the tricks as a forehand winner brings up triple match points.
And sealed on the first when Bogdan returns long.
Clever, composed and clinical. British No 1 Raducanu is into the Transylvania Open quarter-finals with a much improved straight-sets win.
Raducanu 6-3, 5-4 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
A glimmer of hope for Bogdan at 30-0 when Raduanu shanks her return out of the court. She’s still in there fighting and passes the Briton after bringing her in to the net. It has been a tactic that has worked well for the Romanian, and other rivals on the tour may well take note of that.
Bogdan holds, over to you Raducanu.
Raducanu* 6-3, 5-3 Bogdan (*denotes server)
The British No 1 is not afraid to hang in the rally and await a mistake from her opponent. Bogdan duly delivers when she dumps her return into the tramlines and then a Raducanu inside out forehand winner makes it 30-0.
It’s been an impressive response to losing three games in a row. You sense the Bogdan response has been popped now.
Raducanu comfortably holds and the Romanian will serve to stay in the match.
Raducanu 6-3, 4-3 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
Not for the first time today, Bogdan is incensed at a line call against her and makes her feelings clear. She channels her frustration in the best way possible on the next point with an ace for 15-30. She should make it 30-30 but Raducanu hammers a return right back at the Romanian at the net and her volley, while crouched down, is wild and wild. Two break points Raducanu.
Bogdan holds her nerve from the baseline on the first with a clean backhand winner before dropping her return right on the baseline and Raducanu only puts it into the net for deuce.
We’re into longest game territory but it is Raducanu who holds her nerve and breaks. Will that be the fatal blow for Bogdan?
Raducanu* 6-3, 3-3 Bogdan (*denotes server)
On serve in this second set with Bogdan having won three straight games to battle her way back into this match.
But Raducanu responds brilliantly to move 40-0 up. Bogdan gets on the board for the game but Raducanu seals the deal with a volleyed winner into the open court having dragged the Romanian out of the court.
Raducanu 6-3, 2-3 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
Can a rejuvenated Bogdan consolidate the break? A double fault for 15-15 doesn’t help but a powerful serve down the middle does the business.
Sensational from Raducanu. The Briton is situated outside the tramlines but does not hesitate with a riproaring forehand winner down the line. But it comes either side of two points for Bogdan. Raducanu backs herself again to bring up deuce and then catches Bodgan flat-footed with a return behind her opponent. Break point Raducanu.
She attacks the short second serve, it looks like a clean angled winner but is deemed to be out. Bogdan then brings out the drop shot lob combo and holds on the next.
Raducanu* 6-3, 2-2 Bogdan (*denotes server)
Raducanu opens with her second double fault of the match. Not ideal. The two then trade powerful backhand blows from the baseline before Raducanu tries to mix it up but her sliced effort can’t clear the net and it’s 0-30.
Two Bodgan mistakes bring parity at 30-30 but then it’s Raducanu’s turn to mishit and Bogdan brings up break point.
A quick adjust of the feet after the ball flicks the net cord but then Raducanu follows it up by hitting beyond the baseline. Bogdan breaks and lets out a roar in appreciation.
Raducanu 6-3, 2-1 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
We’ve not seen many of those from Bodgan as she fires an ace down the middle for 30-15.
A little hop of frustration as Raducanu watches her return go long and then Bogdan nails another first serve to hold. She needed that to ensure the Raducanu train didn’t start building up an unstoppage head of steam.
Raducanu* 6-3, 2-0 Bogdan (*denotes server)
Raducanu is in the groove now, nailing her first serves as Bogdan struggles to get her return game going again.
A swift hold from the Briton.
First set analysis by Molly McElwee from Cluj-Napoca
Raducanu is extremely focused out there and, after securing the first set, had her game face on as she first-pumped in the direction of her father Ian in the crowd.
After facing three break points in the first game, she did not give Bogdan a look in. Unlike in the first set on Tuesday, she has looked steady on her serve, improving her first serve percentage and winning 86 per cent of points on it. If she can keep this up, she will cruise to a win.
Second set: Raducanu 6-3, 1-0 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
What has the experienced Bogdan got in the way of a response? It must be demoralising to see your opponent constantly chasing down your shots in the way Raducanu does.
She’s at it again, forcing Bogdan to go for a Hollywood-style winner but it does not come off and the Briton has two early break points.
Not for the first time today, Bogdan looks like she might be getting on top in the rally but Raducanu is relentless, dragging her opponent out wide and the Romanian flings her return the wrong side of the line in return. Break Raducanu.
Raducanu* 6-3 Bogdan (*denotes server)
Bogdan has been hindered by her own errors in this set, albeit she is being forced into them by her aggressive opponent. Two more make it 30-0 Raducanu.
The two trade blows on the baseline for what seems like an eternity but it is the Briton who emerges unscathed for triple set points.
And she only needs one, wrapping up her first love hold of the match to take the first set. It’s been a composed and controlled performance so far from Raducanu.
Raducanu 5-3 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
Bogdan, perhaps in a case of mind games, takes her time leaving her seat to serve to stay in the set. Raducanu is ready and waiting at the other end.
A bit too much zip from Raducanu as she goes long down the line. Another into the net but Bodgan replies with two of her own for 30-30. It’s dangerous territory for the Romanian but she lands a return on the line (it possibly looked out but no hawkeye here) and Raducanu is unable to return.
Wonderful improvisation from Raducanu with a sliced return for deuce before a vicious crosscourt winner makes it advantage Bogdan. Raducanu then replies with a crunching effort of her own.
But Bogdan will not be moved and completes the hold. Raducanu to serve for the set.
Raducanu* 5-2 Bogdan (*denotes server)
A couple of missed returns of serve means free points for Raducanu , which she will happily take all day long.
Bogdan pulls it back to 30-40 with a free-swinging backhand right up the line.
Oooph! Raducanu attacks a rising ball, leathering a forehand winner cross court. Bogdan is not happy that it was not signalled as out. But the Briton is not bothered, she’s one game away from the opening set.
Analysis by Molly McElwee from Cluj-Napoca
Scoreline-wise, this is the exact same start to the match as Raducanu had against Polona Hercog in the first round: up a break and storming to a 4-1 lead.
Bogdan has been trying to mix things up, throwing in a couple of drop shots and slice backhands to take the pace off this match, but Raducanu has been dealing with it well so far.
Raducanu 4-2 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
0-30 down and the door is opened slightly for Raducanu with a Bogdan double fault. A deep service return from Raducanu catches Bogdan out for 30-30 but the Romanian immediately replies with a booming forehand into the corner, which Raducanu can only shank into the empty seats.
A second double fault of this serve games brings us to deuce but Raducanu shanks one long and then goes wide with her backhand.
Raducanu* 4-1 Bogdan (*denotes server)
After that tricky opening service game, Raducanu has looked in good nick so far. A possible sticky moment at 30-30 is averted when she goes out wide with the serve and then volleys into the empty court with Bogdan still scampering back across.
She’s not accurate enough with her forehand down the line picking up a Bogdan drop shot and the Romanian responds with a backhand winner.
But Raducanu maintains her composure, moving her feet and applying the pressure from the baseline. Bogdan cannot keep up.
Raducanu 3-1 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
Much better from Bogdan as she leans into a backhand and scorches a winner and then forces Raducanu into consecutive errors for 40-0.
A Raducanu forehand drifts just wide of the tramlines and Bogdan is on the board with a much-welcomed easy hold to love.
Raducanu* 3-0 Bogdan (*denotes server)
Raducanu mixes it up as she comes to the net for a volleyed winner. The variety is also coming with the serve, too, as one out wide stretches Bogdan out of the court before Raducanu follows it up with an arrowed effort down the middle for 40-15.
Bogdan throws up arms up in frustration when her backhand return drops into the net and Raducanu goes to the changeover at 3-0 up. Fantastic start for Raducanu.
Raducanu 2-0 Bogdan* (*denotes server)
Exactly what Raducanu would have wanted after that opening service game as she races into a 30-0 lead. Make that 40-0 after a double fault from the Romanian and triple break point Raducanu.
Raducanu only needs one chance, her accurate backhand down the line proving just too good for her opponent.
First set: Emma Raducanu* 1-0 Ana Bogdan (*denotes server)
An aggressive first serve helps get Raducanu off the mark but Bogdan wastes no time in bringing out the cross-court backhand to push Raducanu onto the back foot and moves into a 15-40 lead. Two break points Bogdan.
Bogdan nets on the first and then Raducanu goes back behind Bogdan for a winner on the next. A third break point for Bogdan comes and goes before two wayward Bogdan shots means it is a gritty hold for the Briton.
Here we go!
Raducanu has a quick late bite of a banana and heads to the back of the court to serve.
Players are out on court
Raducanu and Bogdan stride out onto court, with the music pumping out at the BT Arena. A reminder that covid restrictions here in Cluj-Napoca mean there are no fans allowed in for this competition.
The winner of this match will face Marta Kostyuk, of Ukraine, in the quarter-finals.
Raducanu loses the pre-match coin toss, with Bogdan electing for the Briton to serve first.
With the previous game on centre court finishing on time, that means Raducanu’s match with Bogdan is still on track to start from 1.30pm, meaning the players will be on court shortly.
Telegraph Women’s Sport reporter Molly McElwee has been seeing the reaction to adopted hero Raducanu in Romania this week
Norrie in action
Away from Romania a moment and Cameron Norrie, the recently crowned Indian Wells champion, has taken the opening set 6-2 against world no 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Vienna Open.
The Briton is looking to reach the quarter-finals, after Andy Murray fell at the round of 16 stage yesterday. It’s even stevens at 3-3 in the second.
Room for improvement
Raducanu might have secured her first WTA tour win on Tuesday but it was far from straightforward against Polona Hercog – and the Briton herself admitted she was not at her best.
Telegraph Women’s Sport reporter Molly McElwee watched that match out in Cluj-Napoca and has picked out the key areas Raducanu can target for improvements.
Lowdown on Bogdan
Unsurprisingly given how new Raducanu is to the tennis tour, she has yet to play a match against Bogdan. The 28-year-old Romanian has reached the third round of the Australian Open (2018) and the French Open (2021) with her career high ranking of 59 coming in June 2018.
She has slipped down to 106 in the world currently, exiting the US Open in the first round – although she had a more straightforward opening win this week compared to Raducanu, beating Ivana Jorovic 7-6 6-4.
Raducanu should possess too much for Bogdan today but the slower indoor courts at the BT Arena might narrow the gap between the two.
Here’s the 18-year-old casually dissecting her opening Transylvania Open win in Romanian. There is no end to the Briton’s talents, it seems.
When is Raducanu due on court?
Raducanu’s match is third on center court today in Cluj-Napoca, but not before 1.30pm.
Emma Raducanu was made to work hard for her first win on the WTA Tour after her fairytale New York triumph as she recovered from a set down to beat world number 124 Polona Hercog 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the Transylvania Open in Romania on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old, whose father is Romanian, was already a firm favourite with her hosts but she endeared herself to them further by conducting her on court post-match interview in his native language.
The plan for Raducanu is for her to go and visit her father’s family in Bucharest after her run at the tournament ends but her immediate aim will be to go as deep as possible, with the Transylvania Open just the Briton’s fourth Tour-level tournament.
Her round of 16 opponent today is Ana Bogdan, the Romanian ranked 106 in the world. She may be the obvious choice for the home fans to support but Raducanu will also be getting her fair share of well wishes, even if supporters in Cluj are unable to watch live because of Covid restrictions.
“I feel like I am playing at home, I am getting so much support,” said Raducanu. “Everyone is just really helpful and friendly in anyway they can.
“It is really nice to be here and I really want to extend my stay here. It means so much to me, I just love the country and playing here.
“That’s why I was fighting, I don’t want to leave just yet, I want to see my grandma but just wait a few days, I want to play here in Cluj.
“Everyone has been so welcome, it has been a surprise. The Romanian girls have taken me under their wing so I am really grateful.”
Bogdan, ten years older than Raducanu and with a career high ranking of 59, will evidently want to get the better of her young rival – although the US Open champion’s exploits have left her impressed.
“Of course, even to me [what she did was inspirational],” Bogdan told Tennishead. “I said to myself that everything is possible, everything is achievable if you work hard and if you believe, if you are positive, you can do it.
“It’s very important to have the right attitude, this is what I admired when I watched her: the focus, her shots, and the way she behaved. “For me she was an inspiration, I think for many girls out there too.