Emma Raducanu beats Belinda Bencic to reach US Open semi-finals

The 18-year-old displayed a poise and poise that belied her age to get through two tight and grueling sets and outlast her more experienced opponent 6-3 6-4.

After Bencic hit the last shot of the match into the net, Raducanu raised his hands to his head with a look of shock etched on his face, barely able to believe his accomplishment.

“I didn’t expect to be here at all,” Raducanu told reporters after his victory. “I mean, I think my flights were booked at the end of qualifying, so that’s a nice problem to have.

“I’m really enjoying the experience. Out there on the field today, I was like, ‘This might be the last time you play with Ashe, so you might as well go out there and enjoy it all. “

“I haven’t competed for 18 months, but here I am, and it just shows that if you believe in yourself then anything is possible.”

Remarkably, Raducanu is yet to lose a set in his eight US Open appearances – five in the main draw and three in qualifying – and is the first qualifier in history to reach the last four at Flushing Meadows.

READ: Teen Leylah Fernandez beats Elina Svitolina to reach US Open semi-finals

She will now face 17th seed Maria Sakkari on Thursday, with just over 24 hours to recover, for a place in Saturday’s final.

When asked how she maintains such calm in times of high pressure, Raducanu credited the lessons she received from her parents growing up.

Raducanu then joked that they had “ghosted” her when she tried to contact them the day before her victory.

“I think calmness and mental toughness definitely come from my upbringing,” she said.

“I think my parents both instilled in me from a young age to definitely have a positive attitude on the pitch because, yeah, when I was younger it was definitely an absolute denial if I did. had a bad attitude.

“So from a young age, I definitely learned that, and it has followed me until now.

“When you serve a game on such a big stage, to get into your first semi-final of a slam, you really need a sense of calm to get through that moment, especially I was 30 years old, and for just reset and focus on what I could control.

“I knew exactly what models I was going to play and, yes, I was just very focused and in the moment. I wasn’t getting ahead of myself.”

Raducanu is the second teenager to reach this year’s US Open semifinals after Canada’s Leylah Fernandez defeated Elina Svitlolina on Tuesday.

‘Show all your qualities to the world’

Patrick Mouratoglou may be best known for being Serena Williams’ coach, but he also knows a thing or two about educating emerging talent.

The Frenchman is the founder of the prestigious Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, where Stefanos Tsitsipas and Coco Gauff went to hone their skills.

Mouratoglou says Raducanu’s deep runs at Wimbledon and the US Open should thrill tennis fans, especially those in Great Britain, about his future potential.

“I’m sure you are [British fans] very excited about Emma, ​​”Mouratoglou told CNN Sport. “I would be too if I was British – and even though I’m not British I think she is very exciting. She’s a tall, tall young player, who suddenly emerged completely at Wimbledon.

“We knew her because we had been in the tennis industry for many years. We knew she had talent, we knew she had potential, but suddenly she was able to show all of her qualities to the world. and it’s always nice to see.

“I also love to see the faces of these young players suddenly being so in awe of what they are capable of and so this raw happiness is so nice to see.”

Patrick Mouratoglou appreciated seeing the

As with any emerging talent that emerges on tour, Mouratoglou says the weight of expectations will eventually catch up with Raducanu and her future success will be determined by how she handles that.

However, he believes the freedom she plays with as a young star, without any pressure on her shoulders, has helped Raducanu exceed even her own expectations at the US Open.

“She’s offensive, she plays without limits,” he explains. “She doesn’t think – and I said it in a very positive way when you’re young like that – you’ve got your whole career thinking and thinking too much, thinking too much, ‘Oh, should I do it like this or that? ‘

“When you’re young like that and like Emma right now and you’re successful, you just go with the flow, hit your punches with no stress, no limitations, go for your punches and it lets you do things you want to do. never would have thought you can.

“And she is exactly that time.”

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