Emma Raducanu has made history by defeating Belinda Bencic to reach the US Open semi-finals.
The 18-year-old has taken the tennis world by storm in 2021 and nobody could possibly have imagined the impact she would make in just her second Grand Slam.
Having caught the eye with a fantastic run to the fourth round of Wimbledon this summer, there was quiet optimism that British tennis had its next star – and it’s proving to be more than justified.
Raducanu makes history
Besides, it would seem unfathomable that a player ranked almost 400th at the start of the year would be in with a genuine, albeit ambitious, shot at winning one of sport’s biggest titles.
Raducanu came into Wednesday evening’s quarter-final boasting a perfect record with Stefanie Vögele, Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Shelby Rogers all dispatched in straight sets.
That left the Brit to slug it out with Switzerland’s Bencic, who secured Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s singles, for a place in the final four of the US Open.
Raducanu defeats Bencic
And it really did make for a fascinating encounter with Bencic having the better of the early play, establishing a 3-1 lead in the opening set, only for Raducanu to start coming into her own.
In fact, the 18-year-old put together a stunning run of six games out of seven to win the opening set (6-3) and maintain her perfect record in the process.
From that point onwards, Raducanu simply didn’t look like relinquishing the advantage and by the time she broke Bencic’s serve in the second set, the final result felt like an inevitability.
And while the Olympic champion didn’t go down without a fight, Raducanu expertly held her serve until the final exchange to win the set (6-4) and qualify for the semi-finals in the process.
The Brit will now have to wait and find out whether she will play Karolína Plíšková or Maria Sakkari in a remarkable encounter that could see her qualify for a major final.
We can’t go too ahead of ourselves, but the dreamers amongst us might like to imagine a world in which Raducano becomes the first British woman since Virginia Wade to taste Grand Slam glory.
Raducanu: A true inspiration
The story of Raducanu truly is cause for celebration. It’s incredible to think that a player who didn’t even automatically qualify for the tournament would be able to push so deep into the rounds.
And lest we forget that the Toronto-born star has juggled her A-Level studies and tennis career over the course of the year in which she has shone on the Grand Slam stage.
So, make no mistake about it, Raducanu really is as brilliant as the hype would have you believe and we can’t see wait to see what she can achieve in the semi-finals. Take a bow, Emma.