Raducanu taking care of US Open business

·3-min read

When Emma Raducanu got to Flushing Meadows to try to win her way through qualifying and earn what would be a berth in her just second grand slam main draw, she was not planning on a particularly long stay.

Two weeks into this adventure the 18-year-old from Britain is the first qualifier in the professional era to reach the US Open semi-finals - doing so without dropping a set in eight matches.

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

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

Not bad for someone ranked outside the top 350 in June after going about 18 months 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 semi-finals at any major tournament since the Open era began in 1968.

"I'm just taking care of what I can do (in) the moment."

On Thursday, she will face 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece, a semi-finalist at this year's French Open.

Sakkari won 22 consecutive points she served in one stretch in her 6-4 6-4 defeat of former world No.1 and two-time major runner-up Karolina Pliskova.

"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."

Sakkari, 26, paid tribute to Raducanu but voiced confidence in her chances against the teenager.

"We have many young girls playing well right now. Emma is having a great run but I trust my game and believe in myself," she said.

The other women's semi-final will be 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada against second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

A new major champion will be crowd on Saturday with none of the women's semi-final quartet yet to reach a slam final.

While Fernandez has a host of support cast in New York - apart from her dad who is also her coach but instructng her from afar due to "personal reasons" - Raducanu's run in the Big Apple has been less of a family affair.

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

Mum and dad did not make the trip to the US - 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."

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