Emma Raducanu: US Open champion could face a popcorn clash against her idol Simona Halep at Indian Wells
Emma Raducanu could be in line to face her idol Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells; the 18-year-old from Bromley will open her campaign against Maria Camila Osorio or Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the second round of the tournament later this week
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 05/10/21 9:11pm
British No 1 Emma Raducanu could be in line to face her idol Simona Halep in what would be a blockbuster third-round clash at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells following Monday's draw.
Raducanu's first match since her stunning US Open victory will be a second-round date against either world No 71 Maria Camila Osorio from Colombia or Aliaksandra Sasnovich, the Belarusian world No 100.
Now ranked 22, Raducanu will be among the 32 seeds and therefore receive a bye in the first round after being granted a wild card spot with her first match on either Friday or Saturday.
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Should Raducanu progress then a potential encounter against two-time Grand Slam champion and former world No 1 Halep could well await.
The Romanian 11th seed won the prestigious tournament, which is often referred to as the 'unofficial fifth Grand Slam', in 2015.
Halep hailed Raducanu's New York achievement as "extraordinary" on social media following her victory over Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
Raducanu, whose father Ian is from Bucharest, has taken three weeks off to digest her achievement, but she is now poised for a busy month with all eyes on the 18-year-old in the California desert.
She is currently without a permanent coach having split from Andrew Richardson despite their remarkable New York success but has been seen on court with former British No 1 Jeremy Bates this week.
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The joint tournament on the WTA and ATP Tour is one of the biggest stops on the calendar outside the Slams. Usually held in March, it was cancelled in 2019 and then postponed earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Katie Boulter's hopes of joining Raducanu and Heather Watson in the main draw suffered a blow after she lost 7-5 6-2 to 16-year-old American Reese Brantmeier in qualifying.
Watson, the world No 57, has been drawn to face home favourite Sloane Stephens in the first round.
Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray will also be involved in the event with the men's singles draw set to be made Wednesday afternoon local time.