Teenager Emma Raducanu books last-eight berth at US Open

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New York, Sep 7 (IANS) Eighteen-year-old Brit Emma Raducanu became just the third qualifier to reach the US Open women’s singles quarterfinals in the Open Era after defeating Shelby Rogers of the US at the Arthur Ashe Stadium early on Tuesday morning (IST).

Raducanu continued the giant-killing spree at the US Open, as she moved into the first Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career with a dominant 6-2, 6-1 win over Rogers.

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With her commanding 65-minute victory over last year’s US Open quarterfinalist Rogers, Raducanu became just the third qualifier to reach the US Open women’s singles quarterfinals in the Open Era (since 1968). The previous two were Barbara Gerken in 1981 and Kaia Kanepi in 2017.

In only her second main-draw appearance at a Grand Slam event (following her breakthrough run to the round of 16 at this year’s Wimbledon), Raducanu extends the stellar performances by teenagers at this year’s US Open, joining Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, in the elite eight.

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This is the first time since 2009 that multiple teenagers reached the women’s singles quarterfinals at the US Open. 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain has also reached the men’s singles quarterfinals this year.

The 150th-ranked Raducanu’s rise has come at the expense of numerous experienced, highly-ranked players. With her victory over World No.43 Rogers, she has earned her third straight win over a Top 50 player this week. She is now 5-0 against Top 50 opposition in her career.

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Raducanu has not dropped a set in any of her three victories in qualifying and her four main-draw wins. The British teen has dropped only 15 games in her four main-draw matches.

Against Rogers, Raducanu played her powerful game with precision, outwitting the power-hitter Rogers by 18 to 14, while also keeping her unforced error count low – the Brit only had 14 unforced error compared to Rogers’ 29.

“It means a lot to have gone out there and to have performed,” Raducanu said after her win. “Shelby Rogers is an extremely experienced opponent, so I knew I would have to bring it today. To play on Ashe for the first time, it was a little bit of a nervy experience in the beginning. I was really proud of myself, how I managed to settle and regroup and find a level that at the end took me to the win,” Raducanu told wtatennis.com.

“I think everyone is on their own trajectory,” Raducanu added. “Personally I am surprised that I’m here. I didn’t expect — I knew I was doing a lot of great work that would pay off someday, but you never know when. I’m super appreciative of the moment.”

In the quarterfinals, Raducanu will take on No.11 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, the Olympic champion and a 2019 US Open semifinalist.

“[Bencic] has a lot of experience on the tour,” said Raducanu. “She’s in great form, having won Olympic gold. I’m also feeling good about my game, also confident with the amount of matches I’ve played. I feel like I’m building with each one.

“It will be an extremely difficult match. I know if I’m going to have a chance, I’m going to have to play some really good tennis.”

Earlier, No.4 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic returned to the US Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2018 by moving past No.14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia, 7-5, 6-4.

Former world No.1 Pliskova, a US Open runner-up in 2016, reached the elite eight in New York for the fourth time in her career with her 95-minute win over this year’s French Open runner-up Pavlyuchenkova.

–IANS

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