Britain’s Lily Miyazaki calls US Open debut ‘surreal’ after first-round victory

Lily Miyazaki branded her US Open debut “surreal” after winning her first match at a grand slam.

There were echoes of Emma Raducanu after the 27-year-old qualifier, Britain’s sole representative on day one, beat Russian Margarita Betova 6-3 6-3.

“It’s huge for me, I think,” said Miyazaki. “Qualifying was also, like, obviously a huge confidence booster, but yeah, winning at the main draw is, it just feels a bit surreal.”

The world number 199 may be unlikely to emulate Raducanu’s fairy-tale title win two years ago, but she still secured a near-£100,000 pay day and a high-profile second-round match against Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

“I mean, what Emma did was incredible,” added Miyazaki. “I’m not sure where I was. I think I was at a tournament. I don’t know, a 25K in Portugal or something.

“Obviously all the players were following her results, and it was incredible the way she played.

“I don’t know her too well, but I have hit with her a few times at the National Tennis Centre. Yeah, I think what she did inspired a lot of people.”

While the other six British players in the main draw had the day off, Miyazaki took on the experienced Betova, who was playing under a protected ranking after coming back from having a child.

Miyazaki, who moved to London aged 10 but only changed allegiance from Japan last year, overcame an early break and won six games in a row to take control before winning with her second match point.

Miyazaki joked that she had watched 15th seed Bencic far more than the Swiss will have watched her.

She added: “Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it. She’s a great player obviously.

“It’s actually funny, when I lived in Switzerland, I played her when I was about nine years old and she must have been about seven or eight.

“I remember even back then she was taking the ball so early. Half volleying, drive volleying, everything. Yeah, I expect a really tough match.”