Emma Raducanu's stunning run at the US Open went on as she claimed the biggest scalp of her career against Belinda Bencic to reach the semi-finals, making history in the process.
Raducanu is the first qualifier in the Open Era to advance to the last four at Flushing Meadows and is sensationally still yet to drop a set, this time overcoming the Olympic champion – her first career top-40 opponent – 6-3 6-4.
Now, in this US Open packed full of surprises, the 18-year-old will certainly fancy her chances against either Karolina Pliskova or Maria Sakkari.
Raducanu had lost the opening two games against Shelby Rogers in the previous round but then won 12 of the remaining 13. She would have been prepared then for another tough start, immediately broken to love and again trailing 2-0.
The teenager soon grew into the contest and had Bencic on the back foot, able to squander an opportunity in the sixth game with a rash, rushed effort at the end of a rally but still break when her opponent double-faulted and then found the net.
Raducanu battled back from 0-30 down to hold and went after the Bencic serve again. Her ability to consistently return unsettled the more experienced player, who survived a scare after another double fault yet was beaten at the net when the next break point arrived, teed up by a staggering rally and forehand winner.
The opener was swiftly settled before Bencic gained a measure of control in the second only to be disrupted by the same issues again. A sublime Raducanu return gave her another opportunity, taken courtesy of the latest double fault.
Three-time major champion Andy Murray had told Amazon Prime that Raducanu would find it "difficult" to enjoy this match, but she cracked a smile having passed up a further opening and a wide grin then greeted the momentous clinching point.
@EmmaRaducanu: The third woman ranked outside the top 100 to reach a #USOpen semi-final— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) September 8, 2021
The other two?
Unranked @Clijsterskim in 2009 and unranked @BillieJeanKing in 1979.
Unreal company pic.twitter.com/eerhB7ZPdA
Data Slam: Bencic beaten by Raducanu returns
This match was decided on Bencic's serve, as she became increasingly frustrated by her inability to break down Raducanu's return game. The 11th seed landed 61 per cent of her first serves yet fired in only a single ace. Bencic was made to work for the 23 points she won on her first serve and then took just nine of a potential 21 on her second.
Raducanu – 23/12
Bencic – 19/21
Raducanu – 6/2
Bencic – 1/5
BREAK POINTS WON
Raducanu – 3/6
Bencic – 1/5