Raducanu dominates to reach quarters

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/58469496

Emma Raducanu
Raducanu had to come through three rounds of qualifying to take her place in the main draw
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

British teenager Emma Raducanu put in another devastating performance to reach the US Open quarter-finals as her dream New York debut continued.

The 18-year-old qualifier, yet to drop a set here, won 11 games in a row in a 6-2 6-1 win over Shelby Rogers.

In the biggest match of her life, on the biggest tennis court in the world, Raducanu recovered from a break in the opening game to dominate in style.

She will face Olympic champion Belinda Bencic for a place in the semi-finals.

The Briton dropped to her knees on Arthur Ashe Stadium after sealing victory when home favourite Shelby netted a service return on her fourth match point.

Raducanu, who captured the British public’s imagination with a run to the Wimbledon fourth round as a wildcard in July, has now gone one better after a series of accomplished displays that have had pundits predicting big things ahead for the world number 150.

“It feels absolutely amazing. Shelby is a great opponent, she’s done so well in the US Open and she’s had a great week so I knew it was going to be a tough match,” the Briton said in her on-court interview.

“But I’m so happy to have come through and have managed to overcome some of the nerves at the beginning.”

Raducanu shakes off nerves on the big stage

Raducanu arrived on court with a huge smile, waving to the crowd and looking relaxed, but early nerves kicked in on a court that can house 24,000 people and where greats of the game including American Billie Jean King and Britain’s Virginia Wade were watching on.

She was broken in the first game and was in danger of going 3-0 down before digging deep for a gritty hold in her second service game, where she saved two break points.

That hold seemed to calm her nerves and she swiftly moved up the gears to take complete control of the match against the world number 43, who had upset world number one Ashleigh Barty in the previous round.

Rogers got a consolation game on the board in the second set and held off three match points but in the end it was the American who looked shell-shocked by the occasion as Raducanu reached a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final.

The last British woman to win a Grand Slam singles trophy was Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and Raducanu told her: “Thank you so much for watching my match. I really appreciate it, you’re an absolute legend so I’m really honoured to have you here. I will just do my best and see how it goes.”

Maths is adding up for Raducanu

Raducanu’s run at Wimbledon had come to a premature end when she had to retire from her last-16 match against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic because she was suffering dizziness and struggling with her breathing.

Afterwards she said the whole experience of the Wimbledon run “caught up” with her.

Just weeks later she reached her maiden WTA final and also received her A Level results – an A* in maths and an A in economics.

She did not need those qualifications to work out how the numbers added up against Shelby, where the Briton hit only 14 unforced errors compared to Shelby’s 29, as well as unleashing 18 winners in a 66-minute encounter.

Raducanu, who was ranked 338th before she arrived at Wimbledon in June, will break into the world’s top 100 when the rankings are next released after the US Open.

That would mean she would gain automatic entry into Grand Slams and depending on how far she goes in New York she could even overtake Johanna Konta as British number one.

‘It’s impossible not to get excited’ – reaction

Miles Maclagan, former British Davis Cup player on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: “There is something special about Raducanu and the way she takes it all in. My first encounter with Andy Murray was when he was 16 at Roland Garros and he wasn’t overawed by being there, and she reminds me of that. Where is the limit? We just don’t know quite yet.”

David Law, commentator on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: “It’s impossible not to be excited. I’m scared to be too full of it over a young player for fear of pulling her into the final before she’s even got to the semis, but what it feels like watching this is what it felt like watching Iga Swiatek go all the way at the French Open [in 2020].

“Raducanu has just won a Grand Slam’s worth of tennis matches to get to this point, with qualifying and four matches, and she hasn’t dropped a set. Bencic will be a really tough match but Raducanu is making this look easy.”

Naomi Broady, British player on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: “After speaking to Emma before Wimbledon, what struck me was the foresight and the belief that she could already get through.

“She’s got that self-belief before she’s even gone into her first Grand Slam and it’s why I’m not surprised or shocked that she’s got here. It’s right to be excited – not just necessarily about the future, but about what she is doing right here, right now. The composure and mentality Raducanu shows in these situations is way beyond her years.”

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