Emma Raducanu became the first British woman to reach the semi-finals of the US Open since Jo Durie in 1983, with the defeat of olympic champion Belinda Bencic in just 82 minutes. And Raducanu still hasn’t dropped a set.
It was a nervous start for the 18-year-old, several unforced errors lost her her first service game.
Five games into the first set, Raducanu finally looked comfortable and one game later she broke back to be on serve 3-3.
At the very next opportunity Raducanu broke again, and never really looked in trouble until the end of the match. She took the first set 6-3 with powerful winners and looked to be free of any silly mistakes.
The second set Bencic had her moments, but Raducanu was in the driver’s seat. Bencic’s mental game collapsed, shouting and at one point smashing her racquet. Bencic made too many errors and lost her serve.
Raducanu once again looked nervous when serving for the match, going down 0-30, but won every point after to hold serve and finish the match 6-3, 6-4.
“Playing Belinda, she’s such a great opponent and she’s in unbelievable form and her ball speed definitely caught me off-guard because she hits the ball so hard.” Raducanu said post-match.
“I had to try and adjust and adapt and it was a really tough match for me and I’m just so so happy to have come through and thank you so much for all your support today.
“I’ve got an absolutely amazing team here with me, well he’s keeping me in one piece… I also have a team back home, we’ve been staying in contact. They couldn’t be here, but I’m sure they were watching, I hope.
“I was 0-30 in my last couple service games, so to hold was pretty big, it was literally one point at a time, just trying to focus on what I could control, my serve, landing first serves.
“Belinda’s an incredibly tough opponent, so she was gonna fight all the way until the end, but I’m just really pleased to have come through that.
When asked about 19 year old Leylah Fernandez, Raducanu said, “to have so many young players here doing so well, it just shows how strong the next generation is, and Leylah’s doing incredibly well.”
Raducanu moves into the semi finals where she’ll face either Karolína Plíšková or Maria Sakkari.
The last British woman to win the US Open was Virginia Wade in 1968, she was also the last to win any slam back in 1977. Emma Raducanu moves one step closer to breaking a 44 year drought.
Main photo: Garrett Ellwood/USTA