Having just turned 19, Leylah Fernandez would be the senior player in a match-up with Raducanu. The remarkably talented and charismatic Canadian showed all her determination and skill to defeat Elina Svitolina (5) yesterday and progress into the last four:
“Personally I am surprised that I’m here. I knew I was doing a lot of great work that would pay off someday, but you never know when. I’m super-appreciative of the moment.”
Tumaini Carayol reflects on Raducanu’s run to the last eight, and her prospects against Bencic today:
While it may feel like it right now, Raducanu v Bencic is not the only show in town at the US Open today: next on court will be the men’s singles fourth seed, Alexander Zverev, who meets Lloyd Harris of South Africa, the world No 46.
After that, at midnight UK time, Karolina Pliskova (4) takes on Maria Sakkari (17) in the second women’s singles quarter-final of the day, and then it’s the small matter of Novak Djokovic (1) against Matteo Berrettini (6), who meet again after the Serb triumphed at the Wimbledon final in July. That match is scheduled for 1.15am UK time.
Even Emma Raducanu admits she is surprised to find herself in the quarter-finals of the US Open. She is not the only one: astonishingly, this is only the fourth tour-level event she has participated in. But things are about to get real, and today at Flushing Meadows Raducanu will face a top-30 opponent for the first time: Belinda Bencic of Switzerland.
The 18-year-old Raducanu’s celebrity status is secure – her dramatic run to the last 16 at Wimbledon saw to that – but that celebrity has been borne out of prodigious talent, hard work and self-belief. Should Raducanu take another step towards grand slam glory and reach the last four of the US Open today, the hype machine is sure to be dialled up another notch.
Why shouldn’t Raducanu be in the semi-finals in a few hours’ time? If there one thing that she and Leylah Fernandez have shown us over the past several days, it’s that a liberal dash of self-belief, a willingness to attack and to take on aggressive shots can bring spectacular results: no matter the age or experience of the players on either side of the net. This promises to be a compelling encounter, no matter the result. Pre-match reading and more coming right up.