Emma Raducanu soaked in tennis’ biggest stage and then set about starring on it as she became the youngest British player to reach the quarter-finals of the US Open for more than 60 years.
Shelby Rogers had defeated world number one Ashleigh Barty in Arthur Ashe Stadium two days ago but it was a very different experience for the American here as Raducanu reeled off 11 games in a row in a 6-2 6-1 victory to book a last-eight date with Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.
Raducanu was the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 1990 to reach at least the fourth round of her first two grand slam tournaments and she is only the third qualifier to reach the quarter-finals in New York.
The nearly 24,000-capacity Ashe is the biggest stadium in tennis and Raducanu took time before the coin toss to gaze up at the towering stands.
“I definitely wanted to take it all in,” she said. “I went out there to practise this morning, but there was no one in the crowd. So it did feel different going out there with a crowd, all of the lights, displays on the board. It did take some adjusting.
“I was really trying to enjoy the moment. It’s something that you dream of, to play on Ashe, the biggest court in the world. I really didn’t expect to be here so soon. I just really wanted to be in the present.”
Raducanu’s Wimbledon adventure ended in the fourth round in unfortunate circumstances when she struggled with breathing problems and had to retire, but she has shown with every match in New York how much she has progressed in the two months since.
Raducanu is the third teenager to make it through to the last eight after Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz. Speaking after her brilliant win over Angelique Kerber on Sunday, Fernandez said was was not surprised by anything she had achieved this fortnight.
“Leylah’s achieved great results,” said Raducanu. “I think everyone is on their own trajectory. Personally, I am surprised that I’m here. I knew I was doing a lot of great work that would pay off someday, but you never know when.
“I’m super appreciative of the moment. To be here in the US Open, quarter-finals, after not playing for 18 months, is absolutely just incredible.”
The speed of Raducanu’s rise after taking time away from the match court to focus on her A levels is extraordinary. Having been ranked outside the world’s top 350 in June, she is now projected to break into the top 75, and one more victory would make her British number one.
The other mind-blowing aspect of her run has been the ease with which she has come through matches, dropping just 15 games in four contests, fewer than any other women’s quarter-finalist in New York since Serena Williams in 2013.
Who will Emma Raducanu play next?
Raducanu will now face Belinda Bencic in the quarter-finals after the Swiss Olympic champion survived a punishing first-set tie-break to defeat seventh seed Iga Swiatek 7-6 (12-7) 6-3.
Bencic and Swiatek battled through the 23-minute tie-break under hot and sunny conditions inside Louis Armstrong Stadium on Monday with Swiatek's 5-2 lead in the breaker evaporating when Bencic won four straight points.
Bencic, seeded 11th, got the early momentum in the second set after breaking in the fourth game as Swiatek, who won the French Open in 2020, began to fade.
Radacanu and Bencic will now face off on Wednesday 8 September.
How can I watch Emma Raducanu in the next round?
Tennis fans in the UK can watch Emma Raducanu’s progress at the US Open 2021 through Amazon Prime Video.
New customers can sign up for a 30 day free Amazon Prime trial with no commitment or contract to watch the entirety of the US Open 2021 in New York.
Viewers can have their pick of which tennis matches to watch over the fortnight of action being broadcast live from court side at one of the chosen Flushing Meadows venues.
Amazon Prime customers can also benefit from its wide choice of TV shows, films, documentaries and live sports screened through the streaming service.
After the completion of the trial, an Amazon Prime Video subscription costs £7.99 per month and offers free next day delivery on thousands of items from the Amazon website.