Britain’s Emma Raducanu, Harriet Dart and Katie Boulter won their final round of qualifying matches on Friday to earn themselves places in the women’s singles draw of the US Open, which begins on Monday, where they join compatriots Johanna Konta and Heather Watson, who are direct acceptances.
It is a great sense of achievement and I'm really proud of myself. Emma Raducanu
Coming through a competitive field of 128 players by winning 3 matches is a feat in itself and provides a springboard into the main draw where another 128 of the world’s elite await.
“It is a very nice feeling to reach the main draw on my own, maximising every single opportunity I get is what I want to do,” said Raducanu. “The conditions have been brutal for everyone, it was difficult to play in the heat.
“I did a lot of recovery [on Thursday night] and did everything in my power to try and give myself the best chance.
“In my mind, if I were to lose, it would have been my physicality that let me down. So I’m very happy, and I felt fresh out there.”
The 18-year old played a dominant match against Egypt’s Mayar Sherif, the 4th seed recently broke into the world’s top 100, winning it 6-1 6-4 in an hour 14 minutes and raising her arms in triumph to the dozen or so watching on the sidelines.
“It is a great sense of achievement and I’m really proud of myself,” Raducanu said.
She romped away with the first set, breaking Sherif’s serve twice before the Egyptian finally got herself on the scoreboard at 1-5 and then put up a fight in the second, saving 2 match points to rally back to 5-4, when the British No 3 dominated the final game to claim her win.
The Bromley teenager has been soaking up experience on tour in the States, reaching the final of the WTA Chicago 125 event last week where she fell to Denmark’s Clara Tauson.
She has kept her strong form rolling since Wimbledon, where she made her debut by reaching the 4th round.
Raducanu converted 4 of her 11 break points in her match against Sherif, winning 78 percent of her first-service points, while also claiming 57 percent of the Egyptian’s first-service points, as she rolled to victory.
She will face American No 13 seed Jennifer Brady, this year’s Australian Open runner-up, in an intriguing first-round match in the main draw.
Sherif will also be in the main draw, ending up as one of 3 lucky losers, and she will face Anhelina Kalinina from the Ukraine in the opening round.
Dart, the British No 4, upset Bulgarian 12th seed Viktoriya Tomova later on Friday, after losing a tight first set in the tiebreak and coming from behind to win, 6-7(1) 6-1 6-3, and earning herself a spot in the main draw where she will meet France’s Caroline Garcia.
Boulter will also play in the New York main draw for the first time after taking out the No 8 seed, Slovakia’s Kristina Kucova, 7-5 2-6 6-4.
The 25-year-old edged out the first set after breaking Kucova in the 12th game, but then wilted to go down 0-5 in the second when she called for the trainer and was also seen by a doctor.
Although she rallied to win a couple of games, the set went the way of the Slovakian and a 10-minute break was taken ahead of the 3rd set because of the heat.
After trailing 4-2 in the decider, Boulter took the final 4 games to reach the first round, where she meets Russia’s Luidmila Samsonova.
“I was struggling a little bit, I haven’t played too many matches since Wimbledon and it was brutal out there with the heat,” admitted Boulter after the match. “It got to me in the second set after a long match yesterday.
“There was not much time before today’s match. I didn’t have much energy, didn’t have much power.
“The doctor gave my some stuff to help with the nausea and it made a difference. I felt I did such a great job of finding a way through it.”
Boulter delivered 10 aces as her serve proved the difference in the marathon match that lasted 2 hours and 32 minutes.
Meanwhile, top seed Ana Konjuh from Croatia swept into the US Open main draw for the first time since 2017, defeating 18th seed Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland, 6-2 6-2.
Konjuh’s best Grand Slam performance to date is a run to the 2016 US Open quarter-finals at age 18.
She cracked the Top 20 the following year before injuries curtailed her results, but the Croat is now back inside the Top 100, and she showed off that form with her 60-minute victory over Voegele, winning 84 percent of her first-service points and saving both break points she faced in the clash.
Konjuh faces Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the first-round.
No 2 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova from Slovakia and 3rd-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain also qualified with straight-set wins on Friday.
Schmiedlova, a former Top 30 player, defeated 16-year-old American Reese Brantmeier, 7-6(5) 6-3.
Brantmeier served for the first set at 6-5, but Schmiedlova regrouped and fought back to claim her only straight-set win of the week, her first two rounds averaging just under 3 hours.
Parrizas Diaz, who cracked the Top 100 for the first time earlier this month at the age of 30, beat Hungary’s Reka-Luca Jani, 6-3 6-2, for her Grand Slam main-draw debut.
No 7 seed Elena-Gabriela Ruse of Romania, who reached 2 WTA singles finals this summer, winning the Hamburg title and finishing runner-up in Palermo, extended her run by defeating Italy’s Federica Di Sarra, 6-3 6-0, to reach the main draw.
Oceane Dodin, the No 5 seed from France, and the 6th-seeded Greet Minnen of Belgium, though, were both upset in the final round.
Spain’s Cristina Bucsa beat Dodin, 6-4 6-4, while resurgent Canadian Rebecca Marino ousted Minnen, 6-3 3-6 6-2.
Marino, a former Top 40 player a decade ago, will take on No 5 seed Elina Svitolina in the first round of the main draw.
Also, a 24-year old from Greece, Valentini Grammatikopoulou, made it 3 Greeks in the main draws at the US Open for the first time after her 6-2 5-7 7-5 win over En-Shuo Liang Of Taiwan.
In her first Grand Slam qualifying tournament in 2 years, Grammatikopoulou came from behind in all 3 of her matches to win her place.
With the longest name in the draw, Grammatikopoulou takes on Anna Blinkova from Russia in her opening round.