‘My flights were booked at the end of qualifying!’: Emma Raducanu reveals she expected to be knocked out of the US Open nearly two WEEKS ago… after the British sensation stunned Belinda Bencic to storm into the semi-finals
- Emma Raducanu beat Belinda Bencic to reach the semi-finals of the US Open
- Raducanu, aged just 18, stormed into the final four with a straight-sets victory
- She became the first qualifier in history to make that stage of the tournament
- After sealing her win, Raducanu opened up on feeling ecstatic with the result
- She will face either Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova, the fourth seed, or No 17 seed Maria Sakkari in the last four on Friday morning, 2am BST
Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in history to make the US Open semi-finals on Wednesday night — nearly two weeks after her flights home were booked.
The expectation for the 18-year-old from Kent was to fly back once the preliminary event was over. Now she is into the last four after knocking out Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 here at Flushing Meadows.
‘I didn’t expect to be here — my flights were booked at the end of qualifying, so it’s a nice problem to have,’ she said.
Emma Raducanu has revealed her delight after reaching the US Open semi-finals in style
Britain’s newest tennis sensation Raducanu defeated Belinda Bencic to continue her fairytale
Raducanu is closing in on one of the most astonishing triumphs ever in tennis, less than four months after taking her A-levels. She plays again late on Thursday night.
It all comes despite the long break she took from ranking tournaments, due to a combination of the pandemic and her exams.
‘I didn’t compete for 18 months, but here I am, and it just shows that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.
‘I have a hunger to win every single match I play, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself at all. When you’re playing tournaments, you just get into this sort of autopilot mode of your routines, recovering on the day off in between.
‘Out there on the court today, I was saying to myself, “This could be the last time I play on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, so I might as well just go for it and enjoy everything”.’
Raducanu hailed her support team and admitted the quarter-final match-up was ‘really tough’
Raducanu said that she had only been in limited contact with her parents Ian and Renee, who are unable to travel to the US due to travel restrictions. ‘It’s not possible, because you need a waiver and it takes a couple weeks for approval,’ she explained. ‘It’s too late, and they won’t be able to get one.’
However, she credited them with the remarkable composure that was again on show on Wednesday night.
‘I think that the calmness and the mental strength definitely comes from my upbringing,’ she said. ‘My parents have both instilled in me from a very young age to have a positive attitude on court.
‘When I was younger, it was definitely an absolute no-go if I had any sort of bad attitude. So from a young age, I learnt that and it’s followed me.’
Bencic took a 3-1 lead early in the first set but was left frustrated after several unforced errors
Raducanu’s win will make her the British No 1 and moves her to the brink of the world’s top 50
Two more victories would see her emulate Andy Murray’s title run here from 2012.
She cited him as one of her role models, saying: ‘Andy has quite often spoken to me, and I actually hit with him two times, which was really good for me to see his ball speed and how good he is.’
Raducanu fell behind in the first set and admitted that she had to come to terms, initially, with the highest-ranked player she had ever played.
‘It took me some adjusting at the beginning to get used to her ball speed and how aggressive she was. Once I adjusted, and didn’t over-press too much, I settled in.’
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