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Fearless Raducanu into semis at Flushing Meadows

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8th September, 2021
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British teenager Emma Raducanu has produced yet another exquisite and astonishing performance to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semi-finals.

The fearless 18-year-old defeated Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4 on Arthur Ashe Stadium in Wednesday’s quarter-final to join her fellow teenager, Canadian Leylah Fernandez, in the last four.

Raducanu reached the Wimbledon fourth round on her grand slam debut just two months ago and, astonishingly, has so far won all 16 sets she has played from qualifying all the way through to the semi-finals.

Down an early break, the Briton recovered swiftly to win four straight games to close out the first set in which she cracked seven forehand winners.

Like Raducanu, Swiss Bencic had reached the last-eight without dropping a set at Flushing Meadows but she struggled with her first serve and misfired a pair of costly double faults in the opening set.

Raducanu maintained her momentum in the second set, fending off three break points in the second game.

A frustrated Bencic handed Raducanu a break with a double fault in the fifth game and her frustration boiled over as the match progressed, the Swiss smacking her racquet to the ground.

Down 0-30 in her final two service games, Raducanu kept her nerve on both occasions and soaked in the cheers of the New York crowd after triumphing in a nine-shot rally in the final point.

Raducanu’s extraordinary performance follows that of Fernandez, who’s just turned 19.

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“To have so many young players here doing so well just shows how strong the next generation is,” said Raducanu, who delighted a number of young fans by taking selfies with them before she walked off court.

“Everyone is on their trajectory. I’m just here taking care of what I can control, and it’s my own journey at the end of the day.

“Playing Belinda – she’s such a great opponent. Her ball speed definitely caught me off guard because she hits the ball so hard.”

© AAP

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