Emma Raducanu: British teenager reaches US Open semi-finals in New York


Raz Mirza

Interviews, Comment & Analysis @RazMirza

Emma Raducanu reaches the US Open semi-finals without dropping a set; the 18-year-old Brit will take on the winner of the match between Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari for a place in the final on Thursday night

Last Updated: 08/09/21 7:02pm

Britain's Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in US Open history to reach the last four with another outstanding display against the reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic

Britain’s Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in US Open history to reach the last four with another outstanding display against the reigning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic

Fearless British teenager Emma Raducanu continued her astonishing run at the US Open by reaching the semi-finals with a stunning 6-3 6-4 victory over Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

The 18-year-old from Kent, continued her dream run at Flushing Meadows by sending Swiss favourite Bencic packing to become only the third woman to reach the semi-finals of the US Open ranked outside the top 100, joining Kim Clijsters in 2009 and Billie Jean King in 1979.

It is also the first time a qualifier has reached the women’s semi-finals in New York and she joins fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the final four.

Raducanu headed into her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final having dropped only 15 games in four main-draw matches. But Bencic, the 11th seed and world No 12, was by some distance the highest-ranked player she had ever faced.

The Swiss made a strong start by breaking a tentative Raducanu in her opening service game before consolidating with a comfortable hold as the Brit struggled to find her feet inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Bencic was a prodigious junior talent and made the last eight at the US Open for the first time aged 17, but now at 24, she is potentially hitting her peak having already claimed singles gold in Tokyo earlier this summer.

She reached the quarter-finals without dropping a set with her victims including seeded duo Jessica Pegula and Iga Swiatek.

Raducanu struggled to find her rhythm, but the qualifier began to feel more comfortable and stayed in contention. She successfully grabbed a second break point opportunity to level things up and she revelled in the atmosphere to fight her way back from 0-30 to hold for 4-3.

Bencic knew she was involved in a contest and was feeling the heat with Raducanu finding the depth and angles to earn a second break-point chance following a stunning 20-shot rally. She took it with aplomb, before serving out the set in style – her 15th consecutive set won in New York from qualifying to the last eight.

Bencic took a different approach at the start of the second set by upping her service speed, before Raducanu saved three break points to hold for 1-1.

And the brilliant young Brit continued her brilliant decision-making by sealing a break for a 3-2 lead before holding to move a step closer to her maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

Bencic looked despondent down the other end of the court and just about held on to her serve in the seventh game to stay alive. Both players then held which meant Raducanu walked out to serve for a place in history.

The teenager stayed calm, just like she has done all the way through the Grand Slam, to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semi-finals.

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