Tennis Prose



Is Maja Chwalinska The Next Raducanu?

By Scoop Malinowski

You probably never heard of Maja Chwalinska. She is 20 years old, from Poland and currently ranked 170, She has progressed slower than Iga Swiatek but there are signs that the talented lefthander is breaking out of anonymity.

Last year Emma Raducanu turned the tennis world upside down by winning the US Open as a virtual unknown qualifier and so now every single professional tennis players has to know they too can suddenly catch fire and repeat what Raducanu did.

Chwalinska qualified for the main draw, winning three three set matches including the last round 64 in the third victory vs. American Coco Vandeweghe, and today Maja maintained her fine form and outsmarted veteran Katarina Siniakova 60 75 for her first Grand Slam match win.

Like last year’s US Open qualies sensation and eventual US Open champion Raducanu, Chwalinska only produced ordinary results in the junior Grand Slams, losing first round in AO and US Open but in 2017 she did reach the Wimbledon third round. In doubles she made finals at 2017 AO with Swiatek (they lost to Andreescu and Branstine 61 76).

The emphasis has always been on WTA success and since 2017 Chwalinska has won five ITF pro singles and seven doubles titles while slowly climbing the rankings. But the journey has not been all smooth sailing. She has struggled with sponsor issues, mixed results and also a three month break from tennis after 2021 Wimbledon to recharge her batteries and deal with a loss of spirit.

Chwalinska has an eye catching playing style. She stands five-foot-five but is one of those flashy, flamboyant players with unique skills and variety that gets people buzzing, as demonstrated by this one point vs Irina Falconi which was punctuated by a tweener net cord winner

Chwalinska knows she can compete with the best players in the world. In juniors she beat Coco Gauff at 2017 junior Wimbledon qualies 67 63 26. She also has a junior win vs Marta Kostyuk.

If Chwalinska is ready to become a star in 2022, she will need to rise to the challenge of the 28 seed and 31 year old Allison Riske, who reached the QF here in 2019.

The Polish girl has paid her dues, suffered and struggled… but she is proving this week she has the goods to make an impact at the Grand Slam level.

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