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US Open 2021: Emma Raducanu defeats Zhang Shuai and reaches the third round

Raducanu, at number 150 in the world rankings, will rise to the edge of the top 100 after this US Open run

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Cover: Daily radio commentary on the BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra / BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentary and match reports on the website and app

British teen Emma Raducanu put in another formidable feat that belied her youth and inexperience when she brushed aside Chinese Zhang Shuai to advance to the third round of the US Open.

Raducanu won 6-2 6-4 against 32-year-old Zhang, who is 101 places ahead of 18-year-old.

Superior in every department, it took Raducanu an hour and 21 minutes to win.

Next, she will face the Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo on Saturday for a place in the fourth round.

episode her breathtaking run in the Wimbledon last 16 Raducanu supports this breakout display in New York as a wildcard.

Raducanu qualified for their first major last week and, unimpressed by the size of their first overseas Grand Slam, has continued to cause a stir in Flushing Meadows.

A crowd of fans once again flocked to Court 10 to see why Raducanu emerged as the UK’s brightest young talent and the Kent teenage boy did not disappoint.

After securing the win, Raducanu stayed on the pitch, posing for countless selfies with the star fans – a measure of the excitement that surrounds them.

“I love it here. I am extremely grateful for all the support I have received here in the States. Honestly, it took me a little bit by surprise,” said Raducanu.

“Of course I really want to connect with the fans because they do so much for me and they get me through some really tight moments.

“I really enjoy connecting with them, especially the younger kids. I hope they get a little inspiration.”

Breathtaking victory shows how far Raducanu has come

Playing aggressively and confidently from the start, Raducanu dominated so strongly that the score alone did not quite do justice to her superiority.

Raducanu led with a set and a double break, and even a depressed Zhang was stunned by the quality of her opponent.

Eventually the world number 49 – a seasoned player who has won more than 500 individual games – fought his way back in the second set. It was far too late at this point.

Delving deeper into the game stats helps paint a fuller picture of Raducanu’s brilliance.

On serve, she won 28 of 33 first serve points, while Zhang only won 11 return points.

Her return game – characterized by clinical timing and precision on both wings – produced 27 winners and produced only 11 easy mistakes as the British won 49% of the return points.

There was a slight decline as she got closer to victory, but none of the nervousness of her victory in the first round – where she needed a seventh match point to beat Swiss opponent Stefanie Vogele – in the final stages.

“She would definitely throw everything at me and not let me run away with the game,” said Raducanu.

“As soon as I lowered my level by about five percent, she was all over me, making me run from corner to corner.

“I’m very proud of myself to regroup and get through the game. Resilience is one of my strengths.”

When the two met in San Jose in early August – Raducanu’s first match since reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon, where she gave up with difficulty breathing and feeling dizzy – Zhang won in straight sets.

This display was a measure of how far Raducanu has come in terms of execution, confidence, and physicality since then.

At Wimbledon, she finished 338th and is now, just four events later, nearing a place in the top 100 in the world.

Emma Raducanu celebrates winning the US OpenRaducanu has not lost a set in their five US Open games – in qualifying and in the main draw – at the event

‘The ceiling is so high for Raducanu’ analysis

Former British number one Laura Robson on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:

Emma Raducanu played a phenomenal match. She was under so much pressure towards the end and handled it well – I can’t believe she is 18 years old.

I don’t want to be on the hype train, but how can you not when she’s playing like that?

I haven’t seen many bad days from Emma lately and her base level is right up there with the best players.

The ceiling is so high for her.

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