Qualifier Raducanu makes history, beats Bencic to reach US Open semi-finals

The 18-year-old Briton is the first qualifier ever to reach the semi-finals at the US Open

Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open ©



  • What happened: The British player became the first-ever qualifier to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.
  • You will also learn: Both players came into the match with perfect records in the tournament – Raducanu’s extending back through three matches of qualifying as well.
  • Why you should read this: This was the first time in her young career that Raducanu had faced a player in the Top 40.

Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu continued her incredible run at the US Open by beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 – the first time ever a qualifier has reached the semi-finals in New York. Her next opponent will be Maria Sakkari.

“It was a really tough match for me,” Raducanu said on the court afterwards. “I’m just so so happy to have come through.”

Raducanu opened with a nervy service game, gifting Bencic points and the first break. The Swiss moved to 3-1 up before the 18-year-old won five games in a row and served out the set. Bencic had only dropped serve three times so far this tournament; Raducanu broke her twice in the first set.

And the teenager broke the Bencic serve again to move 3-2 ahead in the second set, assisted by a double fault on break point.

Once again Raducanu looked a little tentative when presented with match point on her serve, but she prevailed, hitting the edges beautifully to secure the biggest win of her career.

Just as Elina Svitolina was with her own teenage vanquisher Leylah Fernandez, Bencic was quick to cross to Raducanu’s side of the court to congratulate her – and in return the British woman applauded her opponent off the court.

“To have so many young players here doing so well, it shows how strong the next generation is,” added Raducanu – mentioning to some crowd laughter that Fernandez had handed out cupcakes in the locker room to celebrate her 19th birthday this week.

Raducanu now becomes only the fourth British woman ever to reach the US Open semi-final – following Jo Durie (1983), Ann Jones (1968), and Virginia Wade (1968, 1969, 1970 and 1975).

And she joins an impressive group of women in the Open Era to reach the last four on their debut – Bianca Andreescu (who was the 2019 champion), Venus Williams (1997), Pam Shriver (1978), and Chris Evert (1971), all of whom were teenagers during those runs.

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