The youngest US Open semifinalist in 16 years says her stunning run was so unexpected that she booked her flight home for 2 weeks ago
- Emma Raducanu says that she had booked flights home from the US Open two weeks ago.
- The teenage sensation beat Belinda Bencic on Wednesday to reach the tournament's semifinals.
- "I didn't expect to be here at all," Raducanu, who is ranked 150th in the world, said.
Teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu says her run to the US Open semifinals is so unexpected that she had booked flights home from the tournament for two weeks ago.
The 18-year-old Briton beat Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals on Wednesday to book her slot in the last four, where she faces Greek Maria Sakkari on Friday.
"I didn't expect to be here at all," Raducanu, who is the first qualifier in US Open history to reach the semifinals, said after her win over Bencic.
Raducanu was ranked outside the world's top 150 before the tournament and had to come through three rounds of qualifying to make the main draw.
She'd booked a flight to come home after the qualifiers, such were her low expectations for Flushing Meadows.
"My flights were booked at the end of qualifying, so it's a nice problem to have."
"It definitely means a lot to be in the semifinals," she added.
"I'm just really enjoying the experience. Out there on the court, I was saying to myself, this could be the last time you play on [Arthur] Ashe, so might as well just go for it and enjoy everything."
-Emma Raducanu (@EmmaRaducanu) September 8, 2021
Raducanu's run to the semifinals has been as ominous as it has been surprising.
The Toronto-born star has yet to drop a single set in five main-draw and three qualifying matches.
It's a run of form that will see her rise over 100 places in the world rankings and into the world top 50, while she is also now guaranteed to take over Jo Konta as British number one following the conclusion of the Grand Slam.
Raducanu is joined in the last four by fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez. It is the first time since 2009 that two teenagers have progressed to the US Open women's singles semifinals.
Raducanu says the pair's exploits in New York show "how strong the next generation is."
"Leylah is really nice," she said of the Canadian. "Everyone is on their own trajectory, though. I'm here taking control of what I can control and it is my own journey at the end of the day.
"I think to compare yourself and your results against anyone is probably like the thief of happiness."
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