In a dream run that has shocked the world, teen qualifier from UK, Emma Raducanu, stormed her way into the semifinals of the US Open, beating Olympic gold medalist, Belinda Bencic in straight sets, 6-3 6-4 in 82 minutes.
Raducanu has become the first qualifier, male or female, to reach the US Open semifinals since the Open Era began in 1968 and the first British woman to reach the US Open semifinals since Jo Durie in 1983.
The 18-year-old is the fifth woman in Open era to make the final four in her debut, joining Chris Evert (1971), Pam Shriver (1978), Venus Williams (1997) and Bianca Andreescu (2019).
On top of that, Raducanu is yet to lose a single set in this tournament.
In a similar fashion to her fourth-round match against American Shelby Rogers, Raducanu got off to a slow start against the No. 11 seed, Bencic, losing her opening serve to give Bencic a 2-0 lead. But, her strikes improved, and she broke Bencic back immediately to take the lead 4-3.
The Brit went on to win five straight games to take the first set 6-3.
Her domination only continued in the second set, breaking Bencic early to take the lead 3-2. It was sheer domination on Raducanu’s part, finding the forehand crosscourt shots and leaving Bencic clueless. Once she took the lead, there was no looking back. Raducanu served to close out the match 6-4.
“It was a really tough match for me, and I am so, so happy to have come through,” Raducanu said in the post-match interview.
Raducanu said she took it point by point and focused on her serve throughout her match.
Bencic, who was coming off a three-set win against the 2020 French Open champion and the No. 7 seed, Iga Swiatek, was Raducanu’s biggest threat so far this tournament — Bencic was the first opponent in the Top 40 she’s faced in the tournament, and she made it look effortless.
The Arthur Ashe crowd was largely on Raducanu’s side, yelling “let’s go, Emma,” after her forehand winners and aces.
Raducanu joins another teenager, Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in the Top 4. She will play the winner of Karolina Pliskova and Maria Sakkari scheduled for Wednesday night on Arthur Ashe.
“On paper, you’d think Bencic, with the gold medal, would start [as the] favorite, but I learned when I got momentum going in ’78 that once you get on the roll here and you’re a teenager and you just soak it up, it’s just easy to have the momentum keep you going,” said Pam Shriver, ESPN analyst and former tennis player, who reached the semifinals of the 1978 US Open as a 16-year-old amateur, about Raducanu after her fourth-round win against Shelby Rogers.
And, she was spot on.