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Lulu Sun Makes History: New Zealand’s Tennis Star Defeats Emma Raducanu to Reach Wimbledon Quarterfinals

Lulu Sun Makes History: New Zealand’s Tennis Star Defeats Emma Raducanu to Reach Wimbledon Quarterfinals

In a landmark moment for New Zealand tennis, Lulu Sun secured a place in the Wimbledon quarterfinals by defeating former US Open champion Emma Raducanu in a thrilling fourth-round match. The victory, achieved with a score of 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, makes Sun the first Kiwi woman to reach the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon, cementing her status as a rising star in the tennis world.

Lulu Sun’s journey to this historic achievement is a story of resilience and international experiences. Born as Lulu Radovcic in Te Anau, New Zealand, Sun grew up with a multicultural background, with a Croatian father and a Chinese mother. She moved to Switzerland at the age of five, where she honed her tennis skills and completed her education. Sun attended the University of Texas at Austin, graduating with a degree in Political Science and making a significant impact on the college tennis scene.

Her switch of allegiance to New Zealand in April 2024 has proven to be a pivotal decision in her career. Since then, Sun has enjoyed a remarkable run, culminating in her memorable performance at Wimbledon. The match against Raducanu was played on Centre Court, where Sun became the first New Zealander to compete since Chris Lewis in 1983. Despite the overwhelming support for Raducanu from the 15,000 spectators, Sun remained unfazed and delivered a stellar performance.

The match began with Raducanu struggling to find her rhythm, allowing Sun to break her serve early. Sun’s aggressive play and confident volleys set the tone for the first set, which she won comfortably. The second set saw a determined Raducanu fighting back, managing to edge out Sun with a 7-5 win. However, an unfortunate slip and injury for Raducanu in the deciding set allowed Sun to regain control. Despite a medical timeout for Raducanu, Sun maintained her focus and clinched the final set 6-2.

Following her victory, an emotional Sun expressed her joy and exhaustion. “It was a very long match. Emma kept at it, and I’m super happy with my performance. At the end, we were both struggling energy-wise,” Sun said. “The level was great from both of us. I’m kind of tired, so I can’t really put it into words.”

Sun’s path to the quarterfinals has been nothing short of extraordinary. Her journey began with a stunning upset over eighth seed Zheng Qinwen in the first round, marking her first top 10 victory. Subsequent wins over fellow qualifier Yulia Starodubtseva and Zhu Lin set the stage for her clash with Raducanu. With each match, Sun has showcased her skill, determination, and the ability to rise to the occasion.

This historic run has significantly boosted Sun’s WTA rankings, propelling her into the top 55. She is now set to face Donna Vekić in the quarterfinals, a match that promises to be another thrilling encounter.

Reflecting on her journey, Sun remarked, “I’ve just been playing match by match, and yeah, here I am. It’s an incredible feeling to be the first Kiwi woman to make it this far at Wimbledon. I’m super proud to represent New Zealand, and I hope to keep this momentum going.”

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