EMMA RADUCANU could face her idol and former Wimbledon champion Simona Halep in her first event since the magnificent US Open triumph.
The 18-year-old teen sensation is Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open – a combined ATP and WTA event which considered to be the most prestigious tournament outside of the four Slams.
The Kent ace received a wildcard for the main draw and as the No 17 seed she has been handed a bye into the second round.
In her first match since winning the New York Slam and banking an incredible £1.8million, Raducanu will face either Colombian Maria Camila Osorio (world No 71) or Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich (world No 100).
This match is likely to take place on either Friday or Saturday in front of packed crowds in California.
Yet the prospect of facing Halep in the third round will be a massive incentive for Raducanu given her family’s Romanian background.
Halep, who recently got married, beat Serena Williams in the 2019 Wimbledon final and the Romanian is one of the biggest names on the circuit.
Raducanu says she admired Halep, 30, growing up and modelled her game on the world no.17, wanting to emulate her athleticism in particular.
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After her victory in the Big Apple last month, Judy Murray shared on Twitter a throwback photo of a young Raducanu alongside Halep.
Murray, mum of tennis brother Andy and Jamie, tweeted: “We should never underestimate the importance of female role models in sport and creating opportunities for young athletes to get close to them.
“Emma Raducanu’s dad is Romanian and here she is with Simona Halep.”
Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie will also be involved in the event and the men’s singles draw will be made Wednesday afternoon local time.