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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, September 6, 2021

 
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18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu shredded Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 becoming the youngest British major quarterfinalist since Sue Barker in 1975.

Photo credit: Darren Carroll/USTA/US Open

Tap-dancing on her toes inside the baseline, Emma Raducanu was poised to pounce on return.

Even when the ball wasn’t in play, Raducanu looked like a woman going places.

More: Bencic Stops Swiatek for US Open Quarterfinal

Eighteen-year-old qualifier Raducanu rolled through 11 straight games shredding Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1 to surge into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and eliminate the last American woman from this US Open.

It’s a monumental win for Raducanu who becomes the youngest British player to reach a major quarterfinal since Sue Barker made the last eight at the 1975 Australian Open.




A red-hot Raducanu has won 18 of her last 22 matches joining Canadian Leylah Fernandez, who celebrated her 19th birthday today, as one of two teenagers to reach the elite eight in New York.

The 150th-ranked Briton set up a blockbuster quarterfinal clash vs. Olympic gold-medal champion Belinda Bencic, who saved four set points fighting off seventh-seeded Iga Swiatek 7-6(12), 6-3. It will be a quarterfinal of two of the hottest women on tour: Bencic has won 13 of her last 14 matches.

"Belinda is a great player who is in great form," Raducanu told ESPN's Pam Shriver afterward. "So I know I’m gonna have to bring it on Wednesday.

"It’s just gonna be who can dictate."

Fourteen sets up, 14 sets down for Raducanu, who continues her remarkable rise through the summer.

Ranked outside of the Top 350 as recently as June, Raducanu burst to the Wimbledon fourth round with a break-out performance that ended with a panic attack prompting her retirement vs. Ajla Tomljanovic.

Flying under the radar in qualifying in the US Open qualifying, Raducanu is soaring through the main draw creating new fans with each passing round. 

In her maiden US Open appearance, the youngest woman still standing has been the most dominant force in the field. Raducanu has not surrendered a set in seven tournament victories—including three qualifying wins—and has permitted just 15 games in four main-draw wins, which is the fewest of any woman.

Quick court coverage, sharp court-sense, precise shotmaking on the run and a charismatic smile of a teenager who truly enjoyed her time on the game’s largest Grand Slam stage are all assets of Raducanu, who exudes natural star power. The smiling sniper played bolder, cleaner tennis against the depleted American.

Whether Rogers was drained from her dramatic comeback from 2-5 in the final set to shock world No. 1 Ash Barty in the third round or was just unable to stay in step with a free-flowing opponent 10 years her junior, the world No. 43 never looked comfortable on court today. Rogers showed fire upsetting Barty with a variety of clever combinations, but was flat and struggled to keep the ball between the lines against Raducanu today. Rogers doubled Raducanu’s unforced error output—29 to 14—and converted just one of nine break point chances in a lethargic loss.

Rogers exploited erratic play from Raducanu to break in the opening game. The British teenager broke back with a loud shot in the fourth game.

Raducanu reeled off nine of 11 points earning triple break point in the sixth game. Rogers saved two but slapped a backhand into net as Raducanu broke for her fourth straight game for a 4-2 lead.

Stepping around her backhand, Raducanu was roping her forehand with aggressive intent. Raducanu rallied from a love-30 hole hammering her second ace out wide for her fifth consecutive game.

An aggressive Raducanu was teeing off on any short balls Roger left in the court.




Reading the Rogers serve, Raducanu roasted a forehand return winner down the line storming through her sixth straight game to snatch a one-set lead after 37 minutes. The last American woman standing doubled the Briton’s error output—18 to 9—as Raducanu rolled through the set.

It was Raducanu’s ninth straight set vs. a Top 50-ranked opponent.

Raducanu won 12 of 16 points played on her serve charging out to a 5-0 second-set lead. Fifty-eight minutes into this onslaught, Rogers finally stalled the slide at 11 games holding to get on the board.




Though she won this match from the baseline, Raducanu showed soft hands at net with a fine full stretch backhand volley. Belting a backhand winner down the line, Raducanu earned match point before closing in 66 minutes.

When ESPN analyst Pam Shriver pointed out 1968 US Open champion and Wimbledon winner Virginia Wade was in the front row watching Raducanu, the future of British tennis paid tribute to its glorious past.

"You'e an absolute legend; I'm honored to have you come out and watch," Raducanu said. "I'm gonna try to do my best each round and we'll see how it goes."


 

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