Emma Raducanu hasn’t dropped a set at New York and has thoroughly outplayed Maria Sakkari, the 17th seed who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros this year.
By defeating Greece’s Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in her US Open semi-final on Thursday, British teenager Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final (September 9). Raducanu fended off seven break points in her opening two service games and took advantage of three double faults from Sakkari to take a 5-0 lead in the first set in front of British tennis royalty Tim Henman and Virginia Wade.
Sakkari, who was down a break in the second set, fought off five breakpoints in a near 10-minute seventh game, but Raducanu, who was 18 at the time, would not be denied and went on to win the match and advance to the final against 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.
“Honestly, the time here in New York has flown by, I’ve just been focusing on each day, and before I knew it, three weeks later, I was in the final, and I couldn’t believe it.” – Emma Raducanu expressed her dissatisfaction.
Raducanu hasn’t dropped a set at New York and outplayed 17th seed Sakkari, who reached the Roland Garros semi-finals this year. In the one-hour and 24-minute set, the Greek made 33 unforced errors and struggled immensely with her first serve.
Raducanu, who captivated British tennis by reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon, was greeted warmly by the New York spectators and beamed up at the stands inside Arthur Ashe Stadium after winning the match with a forehand winner.
“I’ve received incredible support in New York since I arrived for my first-round matches, and you guys have made me feel right at home, I was ecstatic to come out here and perform in front of you guys,” she remarked.
“It feels incredible to play in front of all of you, and Shelby is a fantastic opponent… she’s had a fantastic week, so I knew it was going to be a tough match, ” – Raducanu remarked to a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The teenager will face Swiss 11th seed and Olympic winner Belinda Bencic, who advanced after defeating Polish 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek 7-6(12) 6-3.
“Belinda is a fantastic player who is in fantastic form, so I know I’ll have to be on my game on Wednesday,” Raducanu said.
The teenager got off to a shaky start, as world number 43 Rogers took the first break and led 2-0.
But it was all downhill from there for Britain’s 150th-ranked qualifier, who settled in immediately and surged through the next 11 games to win the first set and lead 5-0 in the second.
The 28-year-old Rogers appeared flat and shell-shocked after the most significant win of her career, a third-round upset of Australia’s world number one Ash Barty.
The American had come back from a 5-2 deficit in the third to defeat Barty, but Raducanu, who never gave the American an opening, proved unbeatable.