‘Fearless’ Raducanu excited to play Rogers on Arthur Ashe Stadium

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Emma Raducanu poses for selfies with US Open fans
Emma Raducanu has been a popular attraction for US Open fans on the outside courts – and will now play on the biggest court in the world
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

British teenager Emma Raducanu says she will relish the prospect of facing home favourite Shelby Rogers on Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open last 16.

The 18-year-old, playing in her first overseas Grand Slam, has not dropped a set in New York after thrashing Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round.

Raducanu will play Rogers, who stunned top seed Ashleigh Barty, on the world’s biggest court on Monday.

“I’m pretty motivated for any situation that I’m thrown into,” said Raducanu.

“You have to step on the court with the same belief – and I definitely do.”

Rogers, 28, set up the meeting with Raducanu by fighting back to beat Australian world number one Barty later on Saturday.

After winning the first set, world number 43 Rogers trailed 5-2 in the deciding third set before wiping out the double break and earning a gutsy 6-2 1-6 7-6 (7-5) victory.

Facing the last remaining American woman at the US Open on Flushing Meadows’ cavernous 24,000-capacity main court will undoubtedly be an intense experience for world number 150 Raducanu.

“In the last year and a half I haven’t competed much, so nothing has entirely prepared me for playing in front of many, many people,” she said.

“But I think that by not playing I just realise the hunger and determination to be out there. Once you’re out there you just want to keep going and stay as long as possible.

“I’m extremely fresh. This whole experience is just so new to me. I think it’s the enjoyment factor that I’m getting.”

How Raducanu has backed up Wimbledon exploits

Raducanu emerged on the Grand Slam scene with a stunning run to the Wimbledon fourth round earlier this year and has now backed that up by reaching the same stage at Flushing Meadows.

She had to retire from her last-16 match against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic at the All England Club after suffering dizziness and struggling with her breathing.

Afterwards she said the whole experience of the Wimbledon run “caught up” with her.

“I feel a lot more confident now. At Wimbledon I was absolutely loving it but I was so new and everything was so fresh, to have that experience in the bank I feel more relaxed on the court,” Raducanu said.

Since Wimbledon, Raducanu has worked hard on improving her physicality and has benefitted from regular matches on the North American hard courts in recent weeks.

She has been reaping the rewards at the US Open, where she came through qualifying before reaching the last 16 with a one-sided demolition of Sorribes Tormo.

While Raducanu’s exploits have not gone unnoticed, Rogers said she will to do a “little bit of scouting” before they play.

“She’s fearless. She is playing very well and she’s inspired. It’s going to be a battle. I am ready for it,” said Rogers, who reached the quarter-finals in New York last year.

Shelby Rogers takes a selfie on court after beating Ash Barty
Rogers, who had lost her five previous matches against Barty, could move into the world’s top 40 for the first time in her career by continuing her run in New York

How far can Raducanu go?

Former British number one Laura Robson, who also reached the US Open fourth round as an 18-year-old in 2012, said Raducanu’s performances in New York have shown she has the level to potentially go even further.

“It was an unbelievably impressive performance against Sorribes Tormo from such a young player. Now she has absolutely nothing to lose,” Robson said in her role as a summariser on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

“The way she has played to this point – why not?”

On Raducanu’s performance against Sorribes Tormo, Robson added: “It was incredible how she played tactically, she played smart. She is hitting it big but always felt like a high percentage shot.

“The unforced errors stayed low, the winners were high, her first serve percentage was high.”

While Robson has been wary of “getting on the hype train”, other former players have not been shy in predicting how far the 18-year-old can go.

Former world number five Daniela Hantuchova believes Raducanu will win a Grand Slam title in her career and be ranked inside the top five “within a year”.

“More people are starting to believe Emma is Grand Slam material – that’s how good she is already,” Hantuchova said on Amazon Prime.

“I hope Coco Gauff is watching what Emma is doing because she is on another level as far as everything goes.

“If she stays healthy and has the right people around here she can be top five within a year. I don’t think I’m exaggerating there. She is the full package.”

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