All aboard the Emma Raducanu rollercoaster – the 18-year-old warns she is playing better at the US Open than she did at Wimbledon in July; Ashleigh Barty’s conqueror Shelby Rogers is next in line for the Brit as she aims for a spot in the quarter-finals on Monday
Last Updated: 05/09/21 8:04pm
The US Open has become a carousel of teenage effervescence with Britain’s own 18-year-old Emma Raducanu riding a crest of a wave as she prepares to face surprise opponent Shelby Rogers for a place in the quarter-finals.
The Kent teenager dropped just a single game in a stunning victory against Sara Sorribes Tormo to join fellow 18-year-olds Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz in the fourth round.
Raducanu now has a real shot of making the last eight of the tournament as she takes on world No 43 Rogers, who sensationally knocked out top seed Ashleigh Barty with a superb comeback.
She has now matched her breakthrough run at Wimbledon but the strides she has made in just the last two months have been evident and Raducanu is not prepared to relax ahead of Monday’s clash.
She did not play a competitive match between February 2020 and June this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and a focus on her A Levels, and she said: “I think the last year and a half really I haven’t competed much, so nothing has entirely prepared me for playing in front of many, many people.
“But I think that by not playing I just realised the hunger and determination to be out there. I’m extremely fresh. This whole experience is just so new to me. I think it’s the enjoyment factor that I’m getting.
“I think I’m playing better tennis here than at Wimbledon. Of course being on the hard courts, they’re less forgiving than grass.
“I think with the amount of matches I have played and the experience that I have accumulated in the last four, five weeks, my game is just getting better with each match. I’m excited to keep going here for as long as possible.
“After having three days off after qualifying and then one day off in between matches, I feel like really good in my body physically. The other thing is having so many matches, you just feel so confident going onto the court in your game. With each game, I think I’ve got my ball strike.
“I’m excited to see what Monday brings.”
Rogers is vastly experienced but inconsistent, and if Raducanu produces anything like the tennis she showed against Sorribes Tormo, the Briton has no reason to fear anyone.
She has not dropped a set across six matches in qualifying and the main draw and she is all set to break inside the top 100.
Raducanu revealed Fernandez and Alcaraz’s wins have proved an inspiration, saying: “I think that to have so many young players coming through is just really great for the game, because it just shows how strong this next generation is.
“I think we all inspire each other to play better. For me today, I wanted to join them in the second week as well, so that was an extra bit of motivation.
“They are very, very nice people. I’m very happy for them, and also very happy for myself that I can also go into the second week.”
Rogers, who has battled back from knee surgery and reached the quarter-finals last year, admits she will have to swot up on Raducanu.
“I’m going to have to do a little bit of scouting I think,” said the 28-year-old. “But she’s fearless. She is playing very well and she’s inspired. It’s going to be a battle. I am ready for it.
“It’s really cool to see the younger generation coming up in this tournament, getting some big wins. It’s really impressive.
“Yeah, I’m going to have to bring my best tennis again in a different way I think, though. Every match. That’s the cool thing about tennis, you have to adjust every single time and make a new strategy.”
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