Tim Henman has hailed teenage star Emma Raducanu after the Briton bounced back from a shaky start to see off Shelby Rogers with ease on Monday to reach the US Open quarter-finals.
Raducanu started nervously and after being broken immediately, went on to lose the first two games against a player who had beaten Wimbleton champion Ash Barty in the previous round.
The 18-year-old admitted at Wimbleton earlier this year that ‚the whole experience caught up with me‘ after retiring in her fourth-round match against Ajila Tomljanovic following an off-court medical timeout due to breathing difficulty.
Tim Henman (L) hailed Emma Raducanu (R) after she sailed into the US Open quarter-finals
The 18-year-old beat home favourite Shelby Rogers (right) in straight sets at Flushing Meadows
Nerves played a role in the opening exchanges in New York – just as they had two months earlier in her maiden Grand Slam tournament – but she bounced back superbly by winning 12 of the next 13 games to take the match 6-2, 6-1 against the American and reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu has qualified for the quarter-finals without dropping a single set so far, and former British No 1 Henman, on courtside quotes on Amazon Prime, praised her ‚incredible‘ reaction to her early setbacks.
He said: ‚It was so special, to see Emma Raducanu get off to that nervous start, you felt for her, but she showed courage to dig her heels in and fight her way out of that. I did not expect her to react like that, it was incredible.
‚Even up 6-2, 5-1 it is not easy to finish it off. I was so impressed how she kept her composure and finished it off. She had very good support even playing an American, it will be interesting in the next match to see whether she has a majority of support.
Raducanu retired at Wimbleton after difficulty breathing in her fourth round match
Former GB Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong was genuinely worried after Raducanu lost her first two games
‚I was pretty nervous for her (at 2-0 down), you hope she can stay in the moment. When you are young it’s very easy to get ahead of yourself, but she handled herself so well. She also spoke so well afterwards, let us enjoy her journey.
‚We have to go one at a time, she is inexperienced, it’s no good thinking about the semis and final, she plays the Olympic champion now.
‚Rogers did not pose threats, but (quarter-final opponent Belinda) Bencic is different class and the clear favourite.‘
Former Great Britain Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong added: ‚Incredible, when she dropped the first couple of games, I was genuinely worried, but the way she turned it around and think clearly was so impressive.
‚In the end it was a one-sided match, I felt sorry for Shelby after first set but take nothing away from Emma.‘
Henman however insisted Belinda Bencic is favourite for the quarter-final against Raducanu
Raducanu – who has dropped 15 games in four matches, the fewest of any player left in the women’s draw – also admitted she was feeling nervous at the start but added in her on-court interview: ‚I feel so happy to have come through and overcome the nerves at the beginning.
‚Shelby has done really well here so I knew it was going to be a tough match.
‚For all of my matches here in New York I’ve received wonderful support, you’ve made me feel really welcome so I’m really grateful.‘
‚Belinda’s a great player, so I am going to have to bring it. I am not thinking about tennis right now, I’ll leave that for tomorrow! I am gonna try and do my best each round and I’ll see how far it goes.‘