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US Open 2021: Order of Play Day 11 – Emma Raducanu in semi-final action

US Open 2021: Order of Play Day 11 - Emma Raducanu in semi-final action

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Emma Raducanu has little time to rest after her quarter-final win over Tokyo 2020 champion Belinda Bencic, with the British 18-year-old back in action in the last four on Thursday.

The evening session – which starts at 12am UK time, aka Friday morning – opens with Leylah Fernandez’s clash with second seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Top Match – Fernandez v Sabalenka

While we’re busy getting excited about a teenager, another one is turning heads across the pond.

Canada’s Fernandez only turned 19 this week but has dumped out third seed Naomi Osaka, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and 16th seed Angelique Kerber. She showed guts to come through a deciding tie-break against Svitolina in the last eight, mettle she will need to show again if she is to topple second seed Sabalenka.

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Sabalenka has dropped just one set all tournament, in the first round, and looks the big favourite to win the trophy.

Potential Upset – Raducanu v Sakkari

Who else?!

Raducanu is now in uncharted territory as the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows EVER. The New York lights will be a new test for the 18-year-old but based on the last couple of months, and the fact she’s yet to drop a set in this tournament, we’re backing her to cope just fine.

We worried if the match against Belinda Bencic, the first seed she had faced at Wimbledon and the US Open, might be a challenge too far, but after another straight sets win we’re starting to wonder the unthinkable: could she actually win the whole thing?!

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‘I have a hard time finding a weakness in her game’ – Wilander on Raducanu run

Brit & Next-Gen Watch – Raducanu

She was ranked 10th in Britain and 338th in the world on the eve of SW19, but now sits on the cusp of the world’s top 50 and is already guaranteed the British number one spot.

Oh, and she’s already being compared to Novak Djokovic. Here’s Eurosport expert Mats Wilander…

“I think we have to start talking about Emma Raducanu’s serve a little bit more because at 18 years old, to have a serve like that is very unusual,” he said.

“It’s unusual to have the motion and the strength, but it’s also unusual to know where she needs to serve. She serves placement wise, at the right time, at the right moment.

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“Her movement, especially out to the backhand side, is just incredible. She’s flexible, she’s strong, hits the ball in the middle of the racket just like a certain Serbian player going for the calendar Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic. There are so many similarities. And the forehand is still a little bit of a weakness, but she’s found a way to work around that and that’s what’s so impressive.”

It’s also worth keeping an eye on the men’s doubles, with Joe Salisbury (with Rajeev Ram) and Jamie Murray (with Bruno Soares) in action in the semi-finals on Louis Armstrong Stadium in the afternoon session.

Order of Play, Thursday September 9 – From 5pm UK Time

Arthur Ashe Stadium (12pm)

  • L. Fernandez (CAN) v A. Sabalenka (BEL) [2]
  • E. Raducanu (GBR) v M. Sakkari (GRE) [17]

Louis Armstrong Stadium (5pm)

  • S. Johnson (USA) & S. Querrey (USA) v (4) R. Ram (USA) & J. Salisbury (Gbr) (8)
  • J. Peers (Aus) & F, Polasek (Svk) v (7) J. Murray (Gbr) & B. Soares (Bra)

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