NEW YORK (Reuters) – British teenager Emma Raducanu continued her dream run at the U.S. Open on Monday by overwhelming American Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-1 to reach her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Going through qualifying to get to the last eight at a major is a stunning accomplishment by itself, but the 18-year-old has done it without dropping a set.
Raducanu, who burst onto the scene in July by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon on her Grand Slam debut, has gone one better at the U.S. Open in dominant fashion.
After a 6-0 6-1 hammering of Sara Sorribes Tormo in the previous round, Raducanu was nearly as ruthless against Rogers as she dispatched the last American in the women’s draw in 66 minutes.
“It feels absolutely amazing to play in front of all of you and Shelby is a great opponent… she’s had a great week so I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Raducanu said on a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the crowd buzzing over what they had witnessed.
Up next for the youngster is Swiss 11th seed and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who advanced with a 7-6(12) 6-3 win over Polish 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
“I feel like I’m building with each match,” said Raducanu. “I’m really excited to see what I can do on Wednesday.
“Belinda’s a great player who’s in great form so I know I’m going to have to bring it.”
Playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium court, the sport’s biggest stage, for the first time, the teenager got off to a nervous start with world number 43 Rogers taking the early break to go 2-0 in front.
However, if anyone thought Raducanu would again crumble under pressure, as she had done at Wimbledon during her fourth-round exit, the Briton showed that she has come a long way in just two months.
From the third game of the match, it was one-way traffic for Britain’s 150th-ranked qualifier. She quickly settled in and stormed through the next 11 games to take the first set and lead 5-0 in the second.
“It means a lot to have gone out there and to have performed,” said Raducanu, clearly enjoying her moment in the spotlight. “Shelby Rogers is an extremely experienced opponent, so I knew I would have to bring it today.
“To play on Ashe for the first time, it was a little bit of a nervy experience in the beginning.
“I was really proud of myself, how I managed to settle and regroup and find a level that at the end took me to the win.”
The 28-year-old Rogers, coming off the biggest win of her career with a third-round upset of Australia’s world number one Ash Barty, appeared flat and was soon shell-shocked.
The American had rallied from 5-2 down in the third to beat Barty but there was no way back against Raducanu, who never allowed the American an opening.
“That was pretty embarrassing,” said Rogers, who had 29 unforced errors to just 14 by her opponent. “It was a tough day at the office.
“It took everything I had to beat Barty. I guess that was a little apparent today. The tank was a little bit empty.
“She’s been doing a lot of great stuff but I don’t think she had much of a challenge today.”
The quarter-finals will feature two teenagers with Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, who celebrated her 19th birthday on Monday, taking on fifth seed Elina Svitolina for spot in the last four.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar)