Qualifier Emma Raducanu Stuns Bencic To Reach US Open Semis - UBITENNIS
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Qualifier Emma Raducanu Stuns Bencic To Reach US Open Semis

The fairytale run of the world No.150 continues in what is only her second appearance at a Grand Slam tournament.

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Emma Raducanu reacts during a Women's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Emma Raducanu has become only the third woman in history ranked outside of the world’s top 100 to reach the last four of the US Open after stunning Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in straight sets.

Taking on a top 20 player for the first time in her career, the British underdog never appeared overwhelmed by the occasion as she roared her way to a 6-3, 6-4, victory on the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Making Raducanu the youngest female player from her country to reach the semi-finals of a major since Sue Barker at the 1975 Australian Open.

“Playing Belinda, she is such a great opponent and she is in unbelievable form. Her ball speed definitely caught me off guard because she hits the ball so hard. I had to try to adjust and adapt, it was a really tough match for me,” Raducanu said during her on-court interview.
“I’m just so happy to come through.”

Initially, it was world No.12 Bencic who started the sharper of the two by winning six out of the first eight points played and breaking for a 2-0 lead. However, as the match progressed Raducanu began to find her footing by applying pressure onto her Swiss rival. Like in her previous matches, she continued her game style of hitting shots deep towards the baseline. The resilience eventually paid off for Raducanu who claimed four straight games from 3-3 to close out the first set.

Six games away from the biggest win of her career, there was still no visible nerves to be seen from the 18-year-old. In fact, it was Bencic who was the more tentative on the court as she struggled at times with her serve and began to let out outbursts of frustration. At 2-2, Bencic produced a costly double fault on break point which gifted Raducanu break number three and moved her closer to the finish line.

The two players continued to fight hard on the court until the match reached its pivotal moment. Serving for the biggest win of her career and a place in the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows, Raducanu continued to win the mini battles by recovering from 0-30 to level. An ace out wide secured her first match point. She then claimed the historic win after a deep shot prompted Bencic to return the ball into the net.

“I was love-thirty in my last couple of service games so to hold them was pretty big. It was literally one point at a time, just trying to focus on what I can control – my serve and landing first serves (in),” said Raducanu who hit a total of 23 winners and won 65% of her service points.
“Belinda is an incredibly tough opponent so she was going to fight all the way until the end.”

Raducanu is the second player under the age of 20 to book her place in the next round of the women’s draw after 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez did so on Tuesday. The US Open has seen various young stars breakout in both the men’s and women’s draw. Something the Brit believes is a promising sign for the future.

“To have so many young players doing so well here just shows how strong the next generation is. Leylah is doing incredibly well,” she commented.
“Everyone is on their trajectory. I am just here, taking care of what I can control and it’s my own journey at the end of the day.”

Impressively Raducanu is still to drop a set in any of her eight matches played in New York. She now joins Billie Jean King and Kim Clijsters as the only female players ranked outside the top 100 to have ever reached the semi-finals.

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Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

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Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Emma Raducanu Among Trio of Grand Slam Winners Handed Miami Open Wild Cards

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Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has avoided the possibility of having to go through qualifying at the Miami Open after being awarded a wild card for the event on Thursday. 

The 2021 US Open champion is among four players to have received passes into the main draw of the prestigious event, which is classed as a WTA 1000 for the women and as a Masters 1000 for the men. It will be the third straight year that Raducanu has played in Miami but she is yet to win a match there. In 2022 she lost her opening match to Katerina Siniakova before getting beaten by Bianca Andreescu 12 months later. 

Raducanu has won two out of five Tour-level matches played so far this year. Recently her agent, Max Eisenbud, hit back at those who have criticised the tennis star’s results since winning the US Open. Raducanu also missed a chunk of last season due to injury after undergoing wrist and ankle surgery. 

“The girl did everything backward. She skipped every step. She won the US Open, she went to the next tournament, she didn’t even know where the player lounge was, she didn’t know where the practice courts were,” Eisenbud told the Served With Andy Roddick podcast.
“I don’t think just being tough on her or critical on her like any other player [is wrong]. But she is still figuring it out. I just think that people should not be malicious.”

Other players to have received wild cards into Miami include Venus Williams, who is a three-time champion at the event but hasn’t won the title since 2001. The 43-year-old hasn’t played on the Tour since August and is currently ranked outside the world’s top 400. 

Carolina Wozniacki completes the line-up of former Grand Slam winners being given wild cards. The Dane was a Miami finalist back in 2017 and has made 12 appearances at the tournament. Earlier this week, she suffered a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1, loss to Anna Blinkova in the first round of the San Diego Open. 

As for the men’s tournament, the only confirmed wild card recipient is Kei Nishikori who will be making his first competitive start since July 2023. Recently the injury-stricken Japanese player added Thomas Johansson to his team. 

The Miami Open will get underway on March 17th.

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