Sun lights up Wimbledon with a dazzling display

The 23-year-old Kiwi recorded wins over 2024 Australian Open Slam finalist Qinwen and former US Open champion Raducanu before exiting in the quarterfinals

Published - July 10, 2024 11:28 pm IST - London

Great run: Sun’s splendid show could see her rankings move closer to 50. | Photo: Getty Images

Great run: Sun’s splendid show could see her rankings move closer to 50. | Photo: Getty Images

Like first-time novelists desperate for the world to read them, Wimbledon 2024 has seen a handful of players eager to make a mark. And it turns out they have terrific stories to tell.

One of them was Frenchman Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, a lucky loser in the qualifying who went all the way up to fourth round. Another was Lulu Sun, the 23-year old qualifier from New Zealand, who lost in the women’s quarterfinals to Donna Vekic 7-5, 4-6, 1-6 on Tuesday. If she had won, she could have matched Alexandra Stevenson’s feat from 1999 of being the only qualifier to reach the women’s singles semifinal at Wimbledon.

Golden run

Regardless, Sun will consider hers a golden run as she recorded victories over 2024 Australian Open Slam finalist Qinwen Zheng (first round) and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu (fourth round).

Prior to this, she had never won a match at the Majors, having made her main draw debut only this year, in Melbourne.

But having entered Wimbledon as the World No.123, she will exit with a number close to 50, more than £350,000 in her kitty and the achievement of being the first from her country to reach the last eight at SW19 since Chris Lewis was runner-up to John McEnroe in 1983.

Global citizen

Interestingly, Sun could have represented nearly half-a-dozen countries, a global citizen in a truly global game. She has a Chinese mother, Croatian father, was born in New Zealand, raised in Switzerland and went to college at the University of Texas (USA). She carries in her heart a part of each country whenever she travels.

“It wasn’t an easy decision [to choose New Zealand] because it never is when you have to choose between two things,” she said after beating Raducanu.

“Even now, I’m still grateful for everything that Swiss tennis has done in my junior career. At the same time I’m also grateful for Tennis New Zealand for their support.

“All the countries that I have been in and have grown up or have a link to, they will always be within me. I don’t think that’s ever going to leave.”

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