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Emma Raducanu has praised Tottenham hero Son Heung-min after arriving in South Korea ahead of her latest WTA Tour event. A difficult year for the teenage star was compounded at Flushing Meadows this month, when the defence of the US Open title she sensationally won in 2021 ended at the first hurdle.
She made another early exit at the Slovenia Open last week as she lost in the second round, but has the chance to rediscover her form on Wednesday when she takes on Moyuka Uchijima in the first round of the Korea Open. The Japanese player is currently ranked 130th in the world, a career high.
And Raducanu will go into the clash buoyed by the latest football results, if not her tennis ones. Earlier this year, the 19-year-old revealed she was a supporter of Spurs, who beat Leicester City 6-2 on Saturday to keep up their early-season challenge at the top of the Premier League.
And it was Son who came off the bench to be the star of the show, scoring a sublime late hat-trick. Like Raducanu, the striker has endured a difficult time of late, failing to score in his side’s first eight games of the season before spectacularly breaking his duck.
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Sure enough, the British No 1 thinks the forward is an inspiration to her and his South Korean compatriots: “I really resonate with him, and I think that what he’s doing for sport and football in Asia and in Korea especially is massive,” she said, as quoted by tennis365. “I think that there are going to be a lot more future athletes coming from this side of the world.”
And like Son and Spurs, Raducanu, whose ranking has dropped from 11 to 77 following the US Open, is keen to get her hands on silverware soon. As it stands, her remarkable triumph in New York remains her only tournament win to date.
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Asked about her desire to win in Korea, she said: “I would obviously love to win a title, and to be honest, I think that it doesn’t matter at what level. I think now just playing a lot of matches is something that I could really benefit from.”
The British star is seeded sixth in Seoul, and is in the same side of the draw as favourite Jelena Ostapenko. The pair could potentially meet in the semi-finals.
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