World media reacts to Lulu Sun's Wimbledon run

Publish Date
Monday, 8 July 2024, 11:56AM

By Cameron McMillan

Kiwi Wimbledon quarter-finalist Lulu Sun has been compared to a Greek god following her powerful display in a fourth round victory over Britain’s Emma Radacanu on centre court today.

Sun became the first Kiwi female to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in the Open era with a convincing 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 victory this morning.

Sun, who won through qualifying to make the main draw, will face Croatia’s Donna Vekic on Wednesday for a spot in the semifinals.

Here’s how the world media reacted to Lulu Sun’s stunning win over Emma Raducanu:

Simon Briggs of The Telegraph

“Emma Raducanu made a sad exit from Wimbledon at the hands of an unknown player – world No 123 Lulu Sun – who nevertheless earned her victory with an apparently endless supply of beefy forehand winners.”

“The disparity between the two players’ tallies of winners was stark: 52 for Sun, of which 25 were forehand howitzers, and only 19 for Raducanu, who never really managed to cast off her shackles and swing freely.”

Emma John of The Guardian

“It would be hard for Raducanu to begrudge the New Zealander, having made her own celebrated run to the US Open title in 2021 from a similarly humble position. It would also be hard to deny that Sun, the world 123, was, on the day, by far the better player.

“Like the gods of old, Sun has an implacable and a powerful arm. Every time Raducanu attempted a lob, the 23-year-old smote it back with a drive volley. It must have felt like Zeus was out there hurling thunderbolts. And they came with a deadly accuracy, too – the sequence of chalk puffs at Raducanu’s end were a visible demonstration how brilliantly Sun was judging the baseline.”

Jonathan Jurejko of the BBC

“Optimism had been rapidly building around Raducanu after she confidently breezed through her opening three matches without dropping a set.

“But a confident Sun, who had never won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam until this tournament, demonstrated the powerful game which has seen her break new ground.

“The quality of her performance disrupted former world number 10 Raducanu and deflated an expectant home crowd.”

Nathan Salt of the Daily Mail

“While this was the greatest moment of Sun’s young career, this was a hugely disappointing afternoon for Raducanu, who went into the match-up as a heavy favourite...”

“Much has been made of Sun’s composure and she showed it by the bucketload here in a match where she was - perhaps unwisely - thoroughly unfavoured.

What next for Lulu Sun?
After being a set down in the second round of qualifying, Sun is now two sets away from a semifinal spot at the grand slam.

Sun is the first qualifier to reach the final eight at Wimbledon since 2010 and is the first New Zealand female to get as far as the quarter-finals on the famous grass courts. And based on her strong service and volley game today it wouldn’t be a shock that her run continues when she faces world number 37 Donna Vekic of Croatia on Wednesday for a spot in the semifinals.

Sun is looking to emulate Raducanu, who was the first qualifier to win a grand slam when she won three qualifying rounds and seven main-draw matches to claim the US Open in 2021.

“It was a great match. Emma she really digged deep there. I really had to fight tooth and nail to get the win. She’s obviously going to run for every ball and fight until the end. I’m just incredibly... I just don’t have the words right now,” a tearful Sun said in her post-match interview.

“I’m super happy to play on this court in front of all of you, it’s just such an amazing experience for me,” Sun said on playing on centre court for the first time, despite the fact the crowd was urging Raducanu on throughout every point in the match.

Sun is the first qualifier in 14 years to reach the quarter-final stage in the women’s draw at Wimbledon, the last being Kaia Kanepi in 2010. She came into the tournament as world No 123 and should crack the top 100 after the tournament.

The Te Anau-born Sun earns £375,000 ($782,056) should her run end at the the final eight, her biggest payday of her young career. She played aggressively and calmly throughout with 52 winners to 19, although that brought 44 unforced errors in her risk-or-reward approach.

Before the match, Raducanu said ‘qualifiers are dangerous’ and Sun showed her just exactly how much of a threat she was with a fast start.

With a strong home crowd backing Raducanu, the left-handed Kiwi silenced the fans with two early breaks to go out to a 3-0 lead.

Raducanu broke back on a Sun double fault in the fourth game and cut the lead back to 3-2. But the 23-year-old Sun, playing in her first fourth round at a grand slam, broke for a third time in the seventh game. She then served strong to take out the opening set.

With a 15-2 winners count in her favour, Sun dominated the opening set. She continued her strong serve and volley game in the second set and barely gave Raducanu a look-in until the former US Open winner made the most of a break point in the 12 game to take the set 7-5.

Raducanu took a medical timeout in the opening game of the third set after looking to hyper-extend her left knee. In a lengthy break she also had work done on her back by a physio she appeared to trouble her through the opening two sets. The delay didn’t affect Sun who had amazing composure throughout the match. She broke Raducanu upon her return to the court and then found a second break to lead 5-2.

Serving for the match again didn’t seem to faze Sun. She didn’t convert her first match point chance and held off a Raducanu break point before claiming victory on her second opportunity.

The Kiwi’s amazing run through the Wimbledon qualifying rounds and three rounds of the main draw is the best by a New Zealand female in the Open era – and surpasses Dame Ruia Morrison who reached the fourth round in 1957 and 1959.

The last New Zealander to reach the fourth round of the singles draw at Wimbledon was Brett Steven in 1997, where he was defeated by eventual finalist Cedric Pioline, while Belinda Cordwell was the last Kiwi woman to reach a grand slam fourth round (Australian Open 1988 and 1989).

Sun’s win over Raducanu wasn’t the only shock today. Second seed and ASB Classic winner Coco Gauff lost in straight sets to fellow American Emma Navarro 6-4, 6-3. The winner of Sun-Vekic will face either Navarro or French Open finalist Jasmine Paolini in the semis.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission

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