‘I didn’t expect to be here’ – US Open semi-finalist Raducanu had return flights for fortnight ago

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Emma Raducanu celebrates beating Belinda Bencic
Raducanu was ranked 361st in the world at the start of June, having never played in a senior tournament
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’s run to the US Open semi-finals was so surprising even to her that she had booked flights back to the UK a fortnight ago.

The 18-year-old Briton is the first qualifier to reach the last four of the Grand Slam in New York.

“I didn’t expect to be here at all,” the world number 150 said.

“My flights were booked at the end of qualifying, so it’s a nice problem to have.”

The rapid rise of Raducanu continued as she reached the last four at Flushing Meadows with a straight-set win over Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic on Wednesday.

As a result Raducanu, who passed her A Levels earlier this summer, is set to rise to the cusp of the world’s top 50 and will become the new British women’s number one.

However, her parents, Ian and Renee, will not be able to see Thursday’s semi-final against Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova or Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari because of travel restrictions to the United States.

“It’s not possible, because you need a waiver and it takes a couple weeks for approval. It’s too late and they won’t be able to get one,” Raducanu said.

With a wide smile she added: “I haven’t actually called my parents for quite a while. Earlier this week they were ghosting me, but when we speak – because I have been away for so long now – they just really want to see how I am.”

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