Had you gone to BetRivers Sportsbook and looked at the odds on a rookie, female 18-year-old player, playing in her fifth WTA tournament, to win the US Open in only her second Grand Slam event and having to go through three rounds of qualifying, then you would have received very long odds indeed.
In fact, one British punter placed a bet of £3.74 (approximately $5.19) on Emma Raducanu to win the US Open, when she was odds of 499/1 before the tournament had even started.
So, when the British youngster landed the US Open title on Saturday night with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, that lucky punter walked away £1,870 (almost $2,595) better off.
An historic achievement!
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 14, 2021
They are not the only lucky punter to have won big on Raducanu’s unexpected victory. Others have been reported in the UK press at landing bets of anywhere between 150/1 and 499/1.
There are even reports that some bettors have backed her to win the coveted BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award before the US Open at odds of 1,000/1.
She is now the odds-on favorite to win that particular trophy.
Having quickly become the darling of the press in the U.S. both before and after her stunning victory, just who exactly is Emma Raducanu and is she set to become the biggest name in women’s tennis since Serena Williams?
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Emma Raducanu – Factfile
Born in 2002 in Toronto, Canada, to Romanian and Chinese parents, Raducanu moved to England at the age of two and settled in London.
She competed at both Wimbledon and the US Open girls tournaments in 2018, playing Leylah Fernandez in the second round at Wimbledon in that year.
She made her WTA Tour debut at the 2021 Nottingham Open, but lost in the first round to British opponent Harriet Dart, but she shone at Wimbledon just a month later reaching the fourth round before she had to withdraw against Alja Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties.
She was knocked out in the first round of the Silicon Valley Classic, but did reach the final of the WTA 125 tournaments in Chicago on the eve of the US Open.
She earned a qualifiers spot at the US Open and beat Bibiano Schoofs, Mariam Bolkvadze and Mayar Sheriff all in straight sets to earn a Wildcard spot in the main draw. However, her miracle run was only just beginning.
She then defeated Stefanie Vogele, Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo, Shelby Rogers, Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari without dropping a single set en route to the final, where she then earned her maiden trophy win with victory over Leylah Fernandez.
Since June she has climbed from 338th in the world rankings, to 23rd after her stunning US Open victory.
Her smiling demeanor on court, combined with her intelligence and the fact she speaks Mandarin as well as English, has endeared her to tennis fans all over the globe.
Is Raducanu The Future Of Women’s Tennis?
Women’s tennis has perhaps lacked a mega-star since Serena Williams was at her very best and while Raducanu certainly has the potential to improve much further, it is still far too early to say that she will become the big name on the WTA tour in years to come.
The women’s tour is hugely competitive now and that has added to its appeal. It makes tournaments genuinely exciting as there is potential for some of the lesser known players to come through and make a name for themselves.
Raducanu is also one of a number of young stars making the breakthrough at the highest levels of women’s tennis at the moment. Her opponent in the final, Leylah Fernandez is just 19, Coco Gauff is just 16, French Open winner Iga Swiatek of Poland is also just 19. There are a number of other female stars all moving up the rankings aged 20 or under.
Raducanu may now be the most recognisable name in that group, but whether she can go on to dominate women’s tennis like Serena Williams or Martina Navratilova is a huge ask, especially given how competitive the WTA tour is at present.
However, with her charm, warmth and incredible ability, Raducanu’s success story should continue long into the future.
And with the Australian Open in January, who knows what will happen then?