From qualifier to the semi-final: A closer look at Emma Raducanu’s meteoric rise to flawless US Open run

Pure joy for Emma Raducanu

British teenager Emma Raducanu has become the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals of the US Open by beating Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

The 18-year-old from Kent won her quarter-final against the 11th seed 6-3, 6-4 and will also become the British women’s number one.

Here we take a closer look at Raducanu.

Meteoric rise

In June this year, Raducanu was 361st in the world rankings and arrived at Wimbledon having played just one senior tour-level match. It was a stunning Grand Slam debut as the wildcard reached the fourth round at SW19, but her exploits in New York have put that in the shade. She had climbed to 150 in the rankings before the first of her three qualifying matches and an eighth win will now lift her to the brink of the top 50.

Yet to drop a set

Raducanu’s stunning progress is even more remarkable given she has yet to drop a set in a total of eight matches. She defeated Holland’s Bibiane Schoofs, Georgia’s Mariam Bolkvadze and Egypt’s Mayar Sherif in her three qualifiers and in the main draw has beaten Swiss Stefanie Vogele, China’s Zhang Shuai, Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain, American Shelby Rogers and Bencic, all in straight sets.

Mixed heritage

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Raducanu was born in Toronto in 2002 to a Chinese mother and Romanian father and the family moved over to England when she was two. Although she has lived in London, she has fond memories of going to see her grandmother in Romania. She said: “My grandma, Mamiya, still lives in central Bucharest. I go back a couple of times a year, stay with her, see her. It’s really nice. I love the food, to be honest. I mean, the food is unbelievable. And my grandma’s cooking is also something special. I do have ties to Bucharest.”

A sporting youth

Emma Raducanu started playing tennis when she was aged five (John Walton/PA)

It was perhaps inevitable Raducanu would have a career in professional sport, given the way her father pushed her as a youngster. She started off attending ballet classes, but her father decided sport was the way forward and had his daughter do horse riding, swimming, tap dancing, basketball, skiing, golf, go-karting and motocross, all alongside her tennis practice.

A recent debut

It is incredible to think that Raducanu only made her first WTA Tour main draw appearance at this year’s Nottingham Open. She lost 6-4, 6-3 to compatriot Harriet Dart in the first round before making the quarter-finals of a lower-level tournament at the same venue the following week. That persuaded Wimbledon to offer her a wild card into the main draw and she went on to become the youngest British woman to reach the second week at SW19 in the Open era.