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Another young gun continues her fairytale run in New York

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Roar Guru
7th September, 2021
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For the past few days, the attention of the tennis world has been focused on young guns Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez, two 18-year-olds who backed up massive third round victories by winning their last sixteen matches to progress into the quarter-finals.

Another who is cooking up a storm in New York is British qualifier Emma Raducanu, who has become the youngest woman from her country to reach the final eight in the Big Apple since Sue Barker in 1975.

The 18-year-old thrashed Shelby Rogers, the last remaining American in the women’s draw – who had upset top seed Ashleigh Barty in the previous round – for the loss of just three games, but while the scoreline suggested it did not look all that easy.

Rogers had broken in the opening game and had three opportunities to secure a double break at 40-0 in the third game, but Raducanu would somehow dig her way out of trouble, and sweep the remainder of the first set, claiming it 6-2.

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain

(Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

The Brit then raced to a 5-0 lead before Rogers delayed the inevitable by pegging back a game, leaving the 18-year-old to serve out the victory and progress to her first major quarter-final in just her second main draw appearance.

Raducanu had previously reached the fourth round at her Wimbledon debut in July, only to be forced to retire in the second set of her match against Ajla Tomljanovic due to a breathing issue.

That match aside, she has not yet dropped a set in Grand Slam play and of all the women remaining in the draw here at Flushing Meadows has coughed up the fewest games.

Her performances in her first two major appearances are parallel to that of Ana Ivanovic, who in 2005 reached the third round of the Australian Open on her major debut before reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, both while aged 17.

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Raducanu next goes on to face Belinda Bencic in the quarter-finals, after the Tokyo Olympics gold medallist edged out 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek in straight sets.

Serving for the first set at 5-4, Bencic struggled with injury and Swiatek needed only one break point to break back for 5-all. It went to a 23-minute tiebreak, during which Bencic was forced to save four set points before prevailing 14-12.

A break in the fourth game was enough for the 24-year-old to claim the second set 6-3, thus winning in straight sets to progress to the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows once again.

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With top seed Ashleigh Barty out of the way, Bencic will fancy her chances of reaching the semi-finals where fourth seed Karolina Pliskova is likely to await.

The Czech right-hander, who is the highest seed left in the top half of the draw, emerged from a tough test against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova winning 7-5, 6-4.

She now awaits the winner of the later clash between Maria Sakkari and 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu, who were due to face each other on Tuesday afternoon (AEST) following the clash between Novak Djokovic and Jenson Brooksby.

After dropping the first set and winning only one game, the Djoker hit back to win in four sets and progress to the quarter-finals at the US Open for the first time since winning the title in 2018.

Brooksby’s loss means there are no American men or women remaining in the singles draws, and on the men’s side it means their 18-year Grand Slam drought will continue on, with Andy Roddick the last American man to salute at any major, right here in 2003.

It is also half that time ago (nine years) since Roddick was sent into retirement by Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round at this very tournament in 2012.

In other men’s matches, Italian sixth seed Matteo Berrettini reached his third consecutive major quarter-final after needing four sets to fight off German qualifier Oscar Otte, who had beaten another Italian, Andreas Seppi, in four sets in his previous match.

There was no luck for his countryman, Jannik Sinner, who went down in straight sets to German fourth seed Alexander Zverev, who is the second-highest seed left in Djokovic’s half of the draw.

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Alexander Zverev of Germany

Alexander Zverev of Germany (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Zverev next faces South African Lloyd Harris, who progressed to his first major quarter-final at the expense of American Reilly Opelka courtesy of a four set win; he had dropped the first set in a tiebreak before winning in four.

With the early rounds now nearly over, the quarter-finals begin on Wednesday morning (AEST) with the bottom halves in both the men’s and women’s draws in action.

Kicking off play on Arthur Ashe Stadium will be Botic van de Zandschulp, the first qualifier to get this far at Flushing Meadows since Gilles Muller in 2008, up against Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev who is yet to drop a set in his journey so far.

In the afternoon, Leylah Fernandez will look to continue her fairytale run when takes on Elina Svitolina, while in the evening we will see a clash between Barbora Krejcikova and Aryna Sabalenka before Carlos Alcaraz attempts to reach his first major semi-final when he faces Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Matches to watch on Day 9

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Day session – play starts at 12pm (2am AEST)
Botic van de Zandschulp (NED) vs [2] Daniil Medvedev (RUS)
[5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs Leylah Fernandez (CAN)

Night session – play starts at 7pm (9am AEST)
[8] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs [2] Aryna Sabalenka (BLR)
[12] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) vs Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)

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