Teenagers Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu light up Wimbledon to reach fourth round

First matches on Centre Court and Court One saw two prodigious talents reach the last-16

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Roger Federer was involved in a thrilling third round match at Wimbledon against local hope Cameron Norrie on Saturday, but the eight-time champion was overshadowed by a teenager making her Grand Slam debut.

Federer, 39, kept alive his hopes of a record-extending ninth title at the All England Club with a 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Norrie on a rare occasion when the Swiss star did not enjoy the overwhelming support on Centre Court.

"Super relieved. It was a tough battle and it was so close. He deserved that third set, he played excellent today," said 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who plays Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round.

"For me, I felt I was able to keep a high level of play and he got that good break at the end of the third - but overall I can be very happy with how I played."

The match provided plenty of entertainment and drama but it was arguably not the highlight of the day.

That belonged to 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, who continued her dream Grand Slam debut by defeating the experienced Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 7-5 in the first match on Court One.

Raducanu, ranked No 338, had already made her presence felt at the Championships when, in the previous round, she eliminated former French Open finalist Market Vondrousova in straight sets.

Stepping into the Court One cauldron, and roared on by the thousands in the stands, Raducanu looked like she may wilt under the increased spotlight after falling behind an early break. But in a display that was equal parts talent and tenacity, the teenager stormed back to win the next five games to take the first set.

Raducanu kept the streak going by taking the first three games of the second set against Cirstea - ranked 293 places higher - and had three break points to lead 4-0. The Romanian forced her way back into the contest to pull herself level at 3-3, but Raducanu kept her focus; while Cirstea consistently battled to hold serve - including in a marathon eighth game - Raducanu continued to rattle through her own service holds.

Eventually the pressure told and Raducanu earned another memorable victory on her third match point, sending the stadium into raptures.

"Honestly, I am so speechless right now, I didn't know what my reaction would be if I won and that has happened. I am so grateful for all the support I had too today, I really appreciate it," Raducanu said after becoming the youngest British woman in the Open era to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon.

"This is by far the biggest court I have played on, so I think I coped quite well, it was a tight match, I was 3-1 down and tried to hold my nerve, you [the fans] really got me through the whole match."

Following a performance that demonstrated both her prodigious ability and a maturity that belied her tender years, Raducanu provided a quick reminder of her age when she said: "Who'd have thought? When I was packing to come into the bubble my parents were like, 'aren't you packing too many pairs of match kit?' I think I will have to do some laundry tonight, I think they have a service at the hotel so I'll go down!"

Next up for Raducanu is Australian Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the quarter-finals. Oh, and in around five weeks, she'll be collecting her A-Level results.

Around the same time that Raducanu completed her victory - the roars from Court One could be heard on Centre Court - another prodigiously talented teenager was wrapping up her own impressive win to advance to the last-16.

Exactly 16 months younger than Raducanu but a comparative veteran, Coco Gauff famously made her mark at Wimbledon two years ago when, as a 15-year-old, she defeated Venus Williams and made it all the way to the fourth round.

This time around, though, expectations are significantly higher. The American is seeded 20th and it wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility for her to make a run to the final.

If Raducanu's Wimbledon campaign has a fairytale feel to it, it felt like business as usual for Gauff, who outclassed Juvan in just over an hour to set up an enticing showdown with 2018 champion Angelique Kerber.

"It’s a good feeling to be on this court and I’m super honoured that the tournament allows me to play on it," Gauff said. "It's not often a 17-year-old gets to play here!

"I wasn’t as nervous as in my second round match - the fans always bring the energy on Centre Court. I want to win so bad that I'm always going to give it my all every time I step onto the court."

Updated: July 03, 2021, 5:45 PM