British teen sensation Emma Raducanu sees off Stefanie Vogele in straight sets to cruise into second round of US Open
- Emma Raducanu took control of the match by winning the first set 6-2
- Stefanie Vogele fought back in the second but Raducanu held her off 6-3
- British star shot to prominence with her performances at Wimbledon
- She is first British teen to win main draw match at US Open since Laura Robson
After taking a seventh match point Emma Raducanu lit up Flushing Meadows last night with a radiant smile that said she had made the second round of the US Open.
The 18 year-old from Kent became the first British teenager since Laura Robson to win a main draw match in New York when she dismissed Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele 6-2 6-3.
Bar a mini drama at the end when she missed six opportunities to close out the contest it was another highly assured performance from Raducanu, who has now won four matches from the start of qualifying without dropping a set.
Emma Raducanu has advanced to the second round of the US Open in straight sets
The 18-year-old looked assured as she cruised to a one set lead with a 6-2 win in the first
Once again she beat a nominally higher ranked player in Voegele but now the gradient becomes steeper with world number 49 Shuai Zhang of Chine awaiting in the next round.
‘It’s absolutely amazing,’ declared a beaming Raducanu, who last played at this venue in the 2018 junior while still very much a schoolgirl.
‘Everybody could tell I was getting a bit shaky at the end, I was so relieved to finish it.’
Amid more steaming heat she was resolute against a seasoned opponent with a quirky serve and useful backhand. Each time the rallies went past several shots it always looked like Raducanu had the better of her.
‘I’m quite used to the conditions and the heat and humidity, I feel really good physically and confident in my game. I got broken in both sets but then managed to some clean returns immediately after them.’
She was due to have played world number fourteen Jennifer Brady, beaten finalist at this year’s Australian Open. That match-up was due to take place on the huge Louis Armstrong Stadium, which would have been the biggest court the British teenager has played on in her career.
However, when Brady withdrew due to a foot injury the contest was relegated to the smaller Court 17, known as The Pit due its sunken nature which allows little cooling breeze to circulate.
Vogele was dumped out of the tournament in straight sets by the 18-year-old
Raducanu has improved her serve and it paid dividends at Flushing Meadows
Voegele was promoted into the draw as a ‘lucky loser’, having gone down in the final round of last week’s qualifying event. She had reached that after having save a match point in her second match against Raducanu’s good friend, Surrey’s Jodie Anna Burrage.
Nonetheless, the Swiss brought with her plenty of experience, having reached the world’s top fifty in 2013. Her father died the following year and she has been unable to improve on a career-high ranking of 42.
While on paper an easier draw for Raducanu, it is also the case that lucky losers sometimes play with a little more freedom, having been handed an unexpected chance to take advantage of their good fortune.
Voegele certainly started like someone playing with few cares, stringing together some winners and then darting to the net to break her opponent’s serve in the third game.
Unflustered, the response was instant as Raducanu immediately broke back to love. It was never likely to resemble the match that preceded them on another of these fast Flushing Meadows courts, which saw seven foot tall Reilly Opelka pump down 33 aces en route to a swift victory.
Raducanu backed up her performances at Wimbledon in the summer with another big display
A run of eight straight points saw the younger player restore her lead. There was better to come in the next game when she broke the Swiss again by leaning into a backhand and driving a winner to go 4-2 up.
An area of the Raducanu game that looked like it could have more to come at Wimbledon was her serve, but the improvement was clear as she drove on to the first set.
By the time she closed out the opener with a fifth successive game she was heading up towards 80% of her first serves landing in, a threshold that was breached early in the second.
With a smooth action delivered from her 5′ 9′ it is a shot that should pay dividends in these conditions. Nonetheless it failed to save her as Voegele repeated the trick of breaking in the third game, only to be met with the same response as in the first set from Raducanu, who immediately levelled.
She decisively broke for 5-3 in the second set despite the Swiss rallying more strongly from the back, and then forged to 40-0 before becoming slightly nervous within touching distance of the win.
Raducanu’s fellow qualifier, Leicestershire’s Katie Boulter, was the last of British singles players in first round action. On Tuesday night she was due to face Russia’s world number 52 Liudmila Samsonova.
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