Emma Raducanu becomes first qualifier to reach US Open semifinals in Open era; Maria Sakkari up next

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ESPN 08 September, 2021 - 01:12pm 11 views

Who is Emma Raducanu parents?

Emma Raducanu was born on November 13, 2002 in Toronto, Canada to Renee and Ian Raducanu. While her mother is Chinese and her father Romanian, the tennis prodigy competes under the British flag following her move from Canada to Bromley, south London, at the age of two. olympics.comEmma Raducanu: Top 5 things to know about US Open star

How is Emma Raducanu British?

Sport has undoubtedly played its part in growing the enviable, easy self-confidence that Raducanu radiates today. Born in Toronto, an only child, she moved to Britain with her Chinese mother, Renee, and Romanian father, Ian (both of whom work in finance), when she was two. Vogue.comMeet Emma Raducanu, the British Teen Taking Tennis By Storm

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NEW YORK -- When Emma Raducanu got to Flushing Meadows to try to win her way through qualifying and earn what would be a berth in her second Grand Slam tournament, she was not planning on a particularly long stay.

Look at her now, two weeks into this adventure: The 18-year-old from Britain is the first qualifier in the professional era to reach the US Open semifinals. And she hasn't even dropped a set yet.

"My flights were booked at the end of qualifying,'' Raducanu said with a chuckle Wednesday, "so it's a nice problem to have."

Showing off the shots and poise of someone much more experienced, the 150th-ranked Raducanu became the second unseeded teen in two days to secure a spot in the final four, eliminating Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Not bad for someone ranked outside the top 350 in June after going about 1½ years without a match -- in part because of the coronavirus pandemic, in part because her parents wanted her to finish high school.

"I'm not here to chase any records right now,'' said Raducanu, only the third woman not ranked in the top 100 to make it this far at the US Open and only the fourth qualifier to advance to the semifinals at any major tournament since the Open era began in 1968. "I'm just taking care of what I can do [in] the moment.''

Raducanu has won all 16 sets she has contested through eight matches in New York -- three during the qualifying rounds and another five in the main draw. On Thursday, she will face No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, a semifinalist at this year's French Open.

Sakkari won 22 consecutive points she served in one stretch and beat No. 4 Karolina Pliskova, a two-time major runner-up, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday night to follow up her victory over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the previous round.

"I'm impressed,'' Sakkari said with a smile during her on-court interview when she was informed of that serving streak. "I trusted my serve, but now I'm going to trust it even more.''

The other women's semifinal will be 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada against No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Raducanu made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon thanks to a wild-card invitation and she made it to the fourth round before stopping during that match when she had trouble breathing.

That tournament allowed the world to begin to get familiar with her style of crisp, clean tennis, managing to attack early in points from the baseline without sacrificing accuracy. By the end against the 11th-seeded Bencic, a US Open semifinalist in 2019, Raducanu had nearly twice as many winners as unforced errors, 23-12.

She also showed gumption, both at the beginning, when she was undaunted by a 3-1 deficit and claimed the next five games, and at the end, when she fell behind love-30 each of the last two times she served before hanging on.

"Obviously, she's very solid,'' said Bencic, who hadn't dropped a set in the tournament before Wednesday, "to just kind of stay tough till the end and just play her game and kind of not let me in again.''

When Bencic double-faulted to get broken and fall behind 3-2 in the second set, she trudged, slow as can be, to a corner of the court to retrieve her towel. When she got to her sideline seat, she whacked her racket against her equipment bag, then plopped herself down and smacked the racket against the ground.

Raducanu jogged to the sideline, showered in applause and cheers from the crowd.

Just like the prior afternoon, the Ashe spectators lent their considerable support to a teenager whose name is not yet well-known and who's not yet all that accustomed to gracing these stages.

On Tuesday, a day after turning 19 and sharing cupcakes with Raducanu and others in the locker room, it was Fernandez getting past No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to become the youngest semifinalist at Flushing Meadows since Maria Sharapova in 2005.

On Wednesday, it was the even-younger Raducanu's turn.

Her father is Romanian, her mother is Chinese, and Raducanu was born in Toronto, before the family moved to England when Emma was 2.

Mom and Dad did not make the trip to New York -- and they're not exactly in constant contact with their precocious daughter.

"I haven't actually called my parents for quite a while,'' Raducanu said with a sheepish smile and a roll of her eyes. "Yesterday, like the day before, they were ghosting me.''

Read full article at ESPN

Opinion: The first week of the US Open was the most exciting ever at a Grand Slam

msnNOW 08 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

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And he’s not the only one. 

“Trying to remember a more spectacular 1st week of the @usopen incredible matches tremendous to see and hear the fans - stay safe gang,” tweeted Paul Annacone, the former coach of Pete Sampras, Roger Federer and others. 

Frankly, the emergence of this narrative has been a bit of a surprise. Coming into the U.S. Open, most of the conversation centered on who wasn’t here, most notably Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. 

For nearly 20 years, those three superstars have been the economic and emotional lifeblood of the sport, selling out stadiums wherever they showed up around the world and carrying television ratings because of their ability to draw in casual fans. Now that all three are close to the end of their careers, there’s a certain level of existential dread within the sport about what the landscape will look like when they leave the scene for good. 

But the juice from the U.S. Open’s first week suggests that sport is, in fact, not about to wither away with the next generation. Both the quality of tennis and the drama produced over the last week suggests there’s plenty to get excited about in the future.

Here are four reasons why the U.S. Open has been so spectacular thus far:

There’s been a bit of a debate within tennis lately about whether the men’s game should consider either scrapping the best-of-five set format altogether or only employing it toward the later rounds of the Grand Slams. In an era where most sports are trying to find a way to make their events less demanding for the fans and friendlier to television windows, those four or five-hour matches cut against current viewership trends.

But the drama they can produce is undeniable. At this U.S. Open, there have been a record 33 five-set matches on the men’s side, including 10 comebacks from a two set to love deficit. In the first round alone, there were five matches decided in fifth-set tiebreakers.

Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, said this might be happening because fans are back in the stadium this year and it’s having an impact on both players.

“In almost any match, if you're two sets down, the fans go crazy for the guy who is losing because they want to prolong the match,” he said. “I think we didn't have this experience for a long time, so it's tougher for the one who is winning, because he's not anymore used to it and it's much easier for the guy who is losing, who is going to feed from it and just, yeah, try to give everything.”

On both the men’s and women’s side, the seeds mostly held to form for the first couple rounds. But over the weekend, it turned into complete chaos — which means there were great stories all over the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Last Friday alone, you had three unseeded players knocking out some of the favorites on Arthur Ashe Stadium: 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz stunning No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets, 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez coming from behind against defending champion Naomi Osaka, and Francis Tiafoe playing the best tennis of his life down the stretch to beat No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev. Then on Saturday, Shelby Rogers coming from 5-2 down in the third set against No. 1 Ash Barty probably trumped them all for shock value.

It’s helped that some of the most joyful moments of the tournament have been produced by American players buoyed by the home crowd, including Rogers, Tiafoe and Jenson Brooksby, the 20-year-old who reached the round of 16 at a major for the first time. 

“The crowd played a big role definitely,” Brooksby said. “Them chanting, cheering me on, it gave me a lot of energy to come back down two sets to one. It was a rough couple sets. Whether it was just my group, even friends I had here, the whole crowd in general with the full stadium, it was great to see them behind me. I really enjoyed that.”

Tiafoe had an interesting observation Sunday night when asked about the amount of energy pulsating through these matches. He attributed it somewhat to the absence of Federer and Nadal, both of whom are home nursing injuries and hoping to come back in 2022. Without them in the field, he said, players have more belief that they can make a deep run and it’s inspiring them to dig even deeper to fight in these matches. 

“The level of tennis is high. Anyone can beat anyone,” Tiafoe said. “Look, I'm 50 in the world. I'm beating all these kind of guys. Everyone’s good. If you don't show up to play, you can lose to anyone.

“I definitely think guys are trying extra hard because there is (no) Roger or Rafa. I truly believe that. I see guys foaming in the mouth. It’s pretty funny to watch, I'm in the locker room cracking up. You have (Andreas) Seppi at 37 playing 15-13 (in a tiebreaker) in the fifth. What's that about? Crazy. His 19th US Open, he's putting his heart on the line. He's probably not doing that if he plays Rafa the second round. He’s probably, like, ‘I'm done.’”

Tennis may be a gentleman/gentlewoman’s sport, but let’s face it — it’s more fun when players beef with each other. And this U.S. Open has provided plenty of that, mostly centered around the unwritten rules of bathroom breaks. 

The main antagonist in the story was Tsitsipas, who was called out by Andy Murray after their first round match for taking roughly an eight-minute break after their fourth set. Though the amount of time it takes a player to change is arguably a silly and anodyne controversy, other players piled on Tsitsipas for what they perceive to be a tactic that stretches the intent of the bathroom break rule.  

“Great for tennis,” 2020 U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem said on Tennis Channel. “It’s nice that things are heating up from time to time.”

Thiem is widely considered one of the friendliest and most sportsmanlike players on the tour, so when even he’s getting into the aggro, that kind of says it all.

There was also a bit of a controversy Sunday night after Barbora Krejcikova beat Garbiñe Muguruza in the round of 16. Krejcikova, who was obviously dealing with a physical problem late in the match and took a medical break late in the second set, said later she was dizzy and couldn’t breathe. Muguruza, however, seemed to think it was some kind of tactic and told Krejcikova during an icy handshake at the net that it was “so unprofessional.” 

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Emma Raducanu marches into US Open semis with easy win over Bencic

The Guardian 08 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

When the time came against one of the most in-form players on the tour, the Olympic champion, she surveyed the threat across the net and simply stepped up another level.

It cannot be repeated enough: this is Raducanu’s first US Open, her second grand slam tournament and only her fourth tour level event. She only just got here, yet she is now the fourth women’s singles qualifier to reach a grand slam semi-final and the youngest US Open semi-finalist since Maria Sharapova in 2005, a distinction achieved a day earlier by the 19‑year-old Leylah Fernandez.

After eight matches and two and a half weeks in New York, she has still not lost a set. Ten weeks ago Raducanu was the 12th-ranked British player. She has now leapfrogged Johanna Konta and Heather Watson to become the British No 1, ending Konta’s 310-week spell there. Her world ranking will be 51 on Monday, having been 366 in June.

In her on-court interview she said: “Belinda’s ball speed definitely caught me off-guard because she hits the ball so hard. So I had to try and adjust and adapt. It was a really tough match for me. I’m so, so happy to have come through.”

After reaching the quarter-final with 13 wins in her past 14 matches, Bencic began the contest with a level reflecting her confidence. She attacked the Raducanu serve with force and pressured her forehand, immediately breaking serve before building a 3-1 lead.

The pressure from Raducanu’s consistent returning soon showed as she broke back for 2-3 and then, as has been the case throughout the past three weeks, Raducanu ran with the momentum. She held serve for 4-3 and then on Bencic’s serve at deuce, Raducanu’s superior athleticism made the difference. On the 20th shot of an absurd rally she chased a forehand at full sprint and drilled it down the line for a whistling winner. Raducanu broke serve on the following point and she ended the set flying.

One of the clear differences between Bencic and Raducanu’s prior opponents came immediately in the second set. In previous matches Raducanu had snatched the momentum and never let it go. But down 15-30, Bencic produced a sublime backhand winner under immense pressure. After holding serve to start the set Bencic immediately threatened to start her own run by creating two break points on Raducanu’s serve.

As the set wore on and she established the decisive break, Raducanu was in full flow, demonstrating just how well-rounded her game is. She served precisely, continually pressured the Swiss with her consistent return depth, her athleticism allowed her to flip constantly from defence to offence and she remained unafraid of taking the ball early and ending points. She did all of that with minimal errors.

As she stared down the biggest win of her life, nerves naturally flowed.

In her final two games Raducanu fell down 0-30 both times as Bencic circled. But her composure is supreme and both times she immediately steadied herself, landed first serves and rolled through four games in a row to reach a staggering, improbable, maiden grand slam semi-final.

“I was 0-30 in my last couple of service games,” Raducanu said. “To hold was pretty big, literally one point at a time. Just trying to focus on what I can control, my serve, landing first serves. Belinda is an incredibly tough opponent and she was going to fight all the way until the end.”

Throughout her time at the US Open, as she has been asked about the thriving young players in New York and other contemporaries who have spent the past 18 months growing while she did not compete, she has constantly stressed that everyone has their own path.

What a unique and remarkable route she has taken towards the biggest stages of the sport. Even with all of the whispers of her talent that have followed her for a long time, such success so soon into her career as a full time player did not seem likely. Yet she has arrived. Now she will compete on Friday for a spot in her first grand slam final against Greece’s Maria Sakkari, who rode a remarkable serving performance to a 6-4, 6-4 win over Karolína Plíšková later Wednesday.

Emma Raducanu vs Belinda Bencic - US open quarter-final start time, how to watch, prize money, odds

Daily Mail 08 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

No teams in your favorites yet.

NEW YORK -- When Emma Raducanu got to Flushing Meadows to try to win her way through qualifying and earn what would be a berth in her second Grand Slam tournament, she was not planning on a particularly long stay.

Look at her now, two weeks into this adventure: The 18-year-old from Britain is the first qualifier in the professional era to reach the US Open semifinals. And she hasn't even dropped a set yet.

"My flights were booked at the end of qualifying,'' Raducanu said with a chuckle Wednesday, "so it's a nice problem to have."

Showing off the shots and poise of someone much more experienced, the 150th-ranked Raducanu became the second unseeded teen in two days to secure a spot in the final four, eliminating Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Not bad for someone ranked outside the top 350 in June after going about 1½ years without a match -- in part because of the coronavirus pandemic, in part because her parents wanted her to finish high school.

"I'm not here to chase any records right now,'' said Raducanu, only the third woman not ranked in the top 100 to make it this far at the US Open and only the fourth qualifier to advance to the semifinals at any major tournament since the Open era began in 1968. "I'm just taking care of what I can do [in] the moment.''

Raducanu has won all 16 sets she has contested through eight matches in New York -- three during the qualifying rounds and another five in the main draw. On Thursday, she will face No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, a semifinalist at this year's French Open.

Sakkari won 22 consecutive points she served in one stretch and beat No. 4 Karolina Pliskova, a two-time major runner-up, 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday night to follow up her victory over 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the previous round.

"I'm impressed,'' Sakkari said with a smile during her on-court interview when she was informed of that serving streak. "I trusted my serve, but now I'm going to trust it even more.''

The other women's semifinal will be 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada against No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Raducanu made her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon thanks to a wild-card invitation and she made it to the fourth round before stopping during that match when she had trouble breathing.

That tournament allowed the world to begin to get familiar with her style of crisp, clean tennis, managing to attack early in points from the baseline without sacrificing accuracy. By the end against the 11th-seeded Bencic, a US Open semifinalist in 2019, Raducanu had nearly twice as many winners as unforced errors, 23-12.

She also showed gumption, both at the beginning, when she was undaunted by a 3-1 deficit and claimed the next five games, and at the end, when she fell behind love-30 each of the last two times she served before hanging on.

"Obviously, she's very solid,'' said Bencic, who hadn't dropped a set in the tournament before Wednesday, "to just kind of stay tough till the end and just play her game and kind of not let me in again.''

When Bencic double-faulted to get broken and fall behind 3-2 in the second set, she trudged, slow as can be, to a corner of the court to retrieve her towel. When she got to her sideline seat, she whacked her racket against her equipment bag, then plopped herself down and smacked the racket against the ground.

Raducanu jogged to the sideline, showered in applause and cheers from the crowd.

Just like the prior afternoon, the Ashe spectators lent their considerable support to a teenager whose name is not yet well-known and who's not yet all that accustomed to gracing these stages.

On Tuesday, a day after turning 19 and sharing cupcakes with Raducanu and others in the locker room, it was Fernandez getting past No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to become the youngest semifinalist at Flushing Meadows since Maria Sharapova in 2005.

On Wednesday, it was the even-younger Raducanu's turn.

Her father is Romanian, her mother is Chinese, and Raducanu was born in Toronto, before the family moved to England when Emma was 2.

Mom and Dad did not make the trip to New York -- and they're not exactly in constant contact with their precocious daughter.

"I haven't actually called my parents for quite a while,'' Raducanu said with a sheepish smile and a roll of her eyes. "Yesterday, like the day before, they were ghosting me.''

US Open: Much more than just a semi-final awaits Emma Raducanu – but she will be up to the task

The Times 08 September, 2021 - 11:20pm

It was obvious in the opening exchanges that the British teenager, her body taut with the excitement of playing in her first grand-slam quarter-final, had more than Belinda Bencic, the Swiss Olympic champion. Raducanu misfired in the opening games, her strokes a fraction off in terms of calibration, perhaps due to the heavy shadow stretching across the Arthur Ashe court. Even then, though, the difference in ordnance was

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