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Sport Britain goes wild for Emma Raducanu as fans cheer her on in US Open

01:45  12 september  2021
01:45  12 september  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Fans across the country crowded around their TVs and packed the pubs to cheer on Emma Raducanu to her historic US Open final win.

The British star, 18, became the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam and the first British woman to take home a title in 44 years.

The tennis ace, who won both sets of a thrilling final against Leylah Fernandez, was hailed as a role model and inspiration at a viewing party held at her home tennis club in Beckenham.

Raducanu played at Parklangley Club in Beckenham, south-east London, from the age of six, and the viewing party was crammed with friends and admirers.

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Those watching were optimistic, with cheers and applause erupting every time Raducanu won a point, and even louder when she took the lead and eventually won in straight sets.

There were so many people at the Parklangley Club that half had to stand, but everyone was on their feet shouting and hugging as Raducanu took the first set.

Suzanne Williams, her former strength and conditioning coach, said: 'It's absolutely incredible just to see her develop and become this player when I knew her when she was so young, from 8-12 years old.

'Of course you could see there was some incredible potential there but to see her on the screen in this environment is incredible.'

She added: 'For girls to know that it's in their reach, because they're at the same place she was, it doesn't feel too far removed from them, it's just incredible for them to get this role model.'

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Harry Bushnell, who coached her from the age of six to ten, said: 'As a coach, you want to coach someone that goes all the way so it's my first time of being involved in anybody that's gotten this far and it's an amazing feeling.'

Speaking about the media pressure that Raducanu has been under since her performance at Wimbledon, he said: 'I just am obviously very protective of her, but I know she views pressure as a privilege.

'I think she conducts herself really well I know that she got a bit of stick at Wimbledon with the way that ended but I was always confident that she would go away from that, dust herself off and come back stronger.'

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On the line for the 18-year-old is a prize cheque for £1.8million - more than eight times Raducanu's current career earnings - as well as 2,000 ranking points, which would move the teenager up from her current standing of 150 to 23.

TV presenter Gary Lineker begged Emma Radacanu to win the second set of the US Open final quickly so that people would be able to watch Match Of The Day.

He tweeted: 'Come on @EmmaRaducanu. Fantastic first set. Please try and win the 2nd set so we can all concentrate on @BBCMOTD.'

Earlier, Manchester United star Marcus Rashford asked for the programme to be moved back to allow people to finish watching the tennis.

'Do us a favour @GaryLineker push it back the tennis is on...' he wrote.

Politicians from across parties added their voices to the mountain of online support for the British tennis star.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey said: 'What an absolutely amazing match - and what an amazing British athlete we have in Emma Raducanu. Keep going!'

Discussing Raducanu's success at the US Open, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: '13 #USOpen sets played by Emma Raducanu.

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'13 #USOpen sets won by Emma Raducanu. Sensational. #USOpenFinal.'

Ahead of the match, former health secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: 'Best of luck to @EmmaRaducanu tonight in the US Open final.

'Whatever the end result, you have done yourself & the country proud.'

Sir Keir Starmer said Raducanu had 'made us all so proud'.

Before the match, the Labour leader tweeted: ' Every best wish to @EmmaRaducanu ahead of tonight's #USOpen final.

'You've already made history as the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final.

'I could not be happier for you and all those who have supported you along the way. You have made us all so proud. Good luck!'

Speaking just before walking on court, Raducanu said: 'The time has flown here in New York. I've just been taking it one match at a time and it has got me to the final.

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'I'm going to go out there and enjoy it today. It's so exciting in my second grand slam to be in the final. I can't really believe it but I can't wait to get stuck in. I'm sure the crowd will be great so it will be a really positive experience.'

a woman hitting a ball with a racket: Raducanu sprints across the court to return a shot from the Canadian Fernandez during the first set of the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium © Provided by Daily Mail Raducanu sprints across the court to return a shot from the Canadian Fernandez during the first set of the final at the Arthur Ashe Stadium

Canadian Fernandez, 19, is also an unexpected finalist and her giant-killing run has included victories over former champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber and top-five seeds Aryna Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina.

She said: 'It's been incredible. I've been having a lot of fun on court, I've been playing well and I can't wait for the finals today. I think we're just going to go out there and have fun. We've both been playing incredibly well.'

Raducanu is being backed by millions back in the UK after she won widespread praise for her semi-final performance, including from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and footballer Marcus Rashford.

Bookmakers had Raducanu chalked up as the favourite at 4/7 - meaning a £10 bet would return just £15.70.

The match is being shown live on Channel 4 after a last-minute deal said to be worth £30 million was struck with Amazon amid feverish anticipation among the tennis-loving British public.

Read more

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Everything you need to know about the US Open championAfter making history at Flushing Meadows with her first Grand Slam title in just her second major tournament, the 18-year-old has become a superstar overnight.

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