Emma Raducanu heralded as ‘best player’ of the US Open as Brit storms into quarter-finals

Emma Raducanu eases into US Open quarter-finals

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Emma Raducanu has been hailed as the ‘best player’ in this year’s US Open. The 18-year-old is yet to drop a set through three rounds of qualifying and four main-draw matches, becoming the third qualifier in history to reach the women’s quarterfinals after needing just 66 minutes to overcome Shelby Rogers in the round of 16.

Raducanu has recorded a number of achievements during her sensational run in Flushing Meadows, and could only add to the list by defeating world No 12 Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals.

As well as becoming the third women’s qualifier to reach the last eight at the US Open, she has also lost the fewest games for a female quarterfinalist since Serena Williams in 2013, with Raducanu dropping just 15 so far compared to Williams’ 13 games eight years ago.

The Bromley teenager came into the US Open at a career high ranking of world No 150 off the back of reaching her maiden tour-level final at the Chicago Challenger less than three weeks ago, and has already more than halved her ranking since.

She is now up to world No 74 in the live rankings and will be British No 2 behind Johanna Konta thanks to her exploits in New York, having beaten Rogers 6-2 6-1 in the fourth round on Monday (September 6).

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Having won 14 sets in a row and counting, former top British player Greg Rusedski has branded her the best player of the tournament.

Speaking on Prime Video as she prepared to take on Rogers in the fourth round, he said: “She’s been the best player in the whole tournament in my opinion.”

The 18-year-old astonished world No 41 Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round to make the second week, dropping just one game as she powered through the in-form Spaniard 6-0 6-1.

“What impressed me about the last round was I wasn’t sure whether she was good enough up high, shoulder height, with having to deal with those high balls, as well as the transition game, was exceptional. And also she served well,” Rusedski continued, speaking about her match against Sorribes Tormo.

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As well as her victories over world No 43 Rogers and world No 41 Sorribes Tormo, Raducanu also beat 49th-ranked Zhang Shuai in the second round, giving her a hat-trick of victories over top 50 players.

She had lost to Zhang just a month earlier at the WTA 250 event in San Jose, but admitted ahead of their rematch that her game had improved since.

Rusedski commended her ability to learn from the loss in such a small space of time, adding: “As we saw in her second-round match when she beat Zhang, she’s a very quick learner because she lost to Zhang in San Jose, won that one, and then again here upped it a level and played even better in the third round to make the fourth round.”

Raducanu will now take on Bencic in what will be her most difficult match yet, with the world No 12 having recently picked up an Olympic gold medal in the women’s singles event, and silver in women’s doubles.

The Brit admitted that she would need to bring her best level to the court, to have a chance at competing with the former world No 4.

“It will be an extremely difficult match,” Raducanu confessed.

“I know if I’m going to have a chance, I’m going to have to play some really good tennis.

“But I feel like I’m building for each match. I’m really excited to see what I can do on Wednesday.”
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