Teen sensation Emma Raducanu makes history at the US Open Emma Raducanu is something special. Elsa/Getty Images/AFP


Emma Raducanu has continued her stunning run at the US Open, doing something no other tennis player – male or female – has ever managed.

British teenager Emma Raducanu has continued her astonishing run at the US Open, beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in straight sets to become the first ever qualifier, male or female, to reach the tournament’s semi-finals in the Open Era.

Raducanu, at 18 years of age, is playing in just her fourth WTA event and her second grand slam, having reached the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this year.

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She recovered swiftly from a nervous start against Bencic, the world number 12, to win 6-3 6-4 in 81 minutes. She hit 23 winners, almost doubling her 12 unforced errors.

It was her eighth consecutive win at the US Open, including three qualifying rounds, and she has yet to drop a set in the tournament.

Raducanu, ranked 150th in the world, is only the third woman in history to reach the semi-finals from outside the top 100, and she’s in illustrious company – the other two were Kim Clijsters in 2009 and Billie Jean King in 1979.

Her record against opponents ranked in the top 50 is now 6-0, though of those opponents, only Bencic was in the top 40.

Raducanu will face the winner of today’s later quarterfinal between fourth seed Karolina Pliskova and 17th seed Maria Sakkari. On the other side of the draw another teenager, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, faces world number two Aryna Sabalenka tomorrow.

“Playing Belinda, she is such a great opponent,” Raducanu said after the match.

“Her ball speed definitely caught me off guard. She hits the ball so hard, and I had to adjust and adapt. I’m just so happy to come through.”

She credited her rapid success at the highest level of tennis on her “absolutely amazing team”, pointing to her coaching staff in New York and her family back in the United Kingdom.

“I’m sure they were watching. I hope they were,” she quipped.

“I wish you could be here with me. But honestly, everything we’ve been working for, it showed here. So thank you so much.”

Raducanu’s victory was not without some struggle. She went down 2-0 in the opening set, and had to fight back from 0-30 as she served for the match.

“I was 0-30 in my last couple of service games, so to hold was pretty big,” she said.

“It was literally one point at a time, trying to focus on what I can control, my serve, landing the first serve.

“Belinda’s an incredibly tough opponent, but I’m just really pleased to come through.”

‘Extraordinary’: World reacts to Raducanu’s rise

Tennis writer Stu Fraser said on Twitter Raducanu’s run in New York is “quite extraordinary” while journalist Carole Bouchard added: “Raducanu, this is madness.”

Reporter Mike Dickson said it was “another day to rub the eyes in disbelief” and Victoria Chiesa wrote on social media Raducanu’s effort at Flushing Meadows — where she is yet to drop a set in eight matches — was “just absurd”.

Sports writer Charlie Eccleshare was singing from the same song sheet. “That is just absolutely absurd,” he tweeted.

Commentator Jose Morgado called it “insane” that Raducanu started Wimbledon as No. 338 in the world and the 10th ranked Brit, but will now rise to at least world No. 51 and replace Johanna Konta as Britain’s No. 1 ranked player.

During her on court interview, Raducanu was asked whether she’d drawn inspiration from the similarly impressive run of Fernandez.

“Yeah. To have so many young players here, doing so well, it just shows how strong the next generation is,” she replied.

“Leylah is doing incredibly well. She’s really nice, she was handing out cupcakes for her 19th birthday.

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

Three other female qualifiers have reached the semi-finals of a grand slam in the Open Era: Christine Dorey at the Australian Open in 1978, Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999, and Nadia Podoroska at Roland Garros last year.

Should Raducanu win her semi-final, she will be the first qualifier to ever reach a final.



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