NEW YORK : Reaching the second week of the U.S. Open on Saturday, British star-on-the-rise Emma Raducanu's biggest problem may be that she didn't pack enough wristbands.
The 18-year-old reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in a stunning Grand Slam debut this year, outlasting more experienced compatriots including twice champion Andy Murray and earning acclaim as the most exciting up-and-comer in British tennis.
But she told Reuters she never expected her swing through the United States to last quite so long, as she whipped through qualies and defeated her first three main-draw opponents all in straight sets in the Big Apple.
"I ran out of wristbands so when people ask me for my wristbands, I'm like 'oh, I don’t have any left, sorry!'," she said, after defeating Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo to reach the final 16 6-0 6-1.
She arrived in New York after finishing as the runner-up at the Chicago Challenger and contending in tournaments in Pennsylvania and San Jose, California, a grueling schedule that had left even the perennially upbeat teen mildly concerned.
"I didn't know how I (would be able) to hold up in U.S. qualies because it was such a short turnover; I had a day and a half to get myself ready for my first round so to qualify, I was really, really happy," she said. "The second week, it’s just a dream, really."
Her packed summer appeared on Saturday to have taken little toll, however, as she won a hugely impressive 79per cent of her first-serve points while smashing 23 winners past Sorribes Tormo.
"At the beginning of the trip I didn’t think I’d be here for six weeks, to be honest, but we’re still here, we’re still going so I’m really enjoying my time," she said.
So rapid has been her rise through the tennis ranks that she has little sense of her competition schedule after New York, where she planned to celebrate Saturday's win with a bowl of frozen yogurt and a twirl through the bright lights of Times Square.
"I’ve got no idea even what my ranking is and where it will get me into," she said. "Before Wimbledon we were planning a bunch of 25Ks in Europe and now I’m here at the U.S. Open in the second week so it’s quite hard to believe still."
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)