‘You can see how she gets under the skin of all her opponents… she is SO mentally strong’: Annabel Croft praises ‘problem solver’ Emma Raducanu after Brit becomes fourth youngest woman to reach US Open semi-finals
- Emma Raducanu beat Belinda Bencic to reach the semi-finals of the US Open
- She is the first qualifier and the fourth youngest woman to reach the last four
- Annabel Croft believes Raducanu has had psychological advantage over rivals
- Tim Henman also praised the 18-year-old Brit for ‘resilient’ and ‘gutsy’ tennis
Emma Raducanu has been praised as a ‘problem solver’ who ‘gets under the skin of her opponents’ by Annabel Croft after the British teenager made it through to the US Open semi-finals.
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in history to make the last four at Flushing Meadows after beating Olympic champion Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4 in their quarter-final.
Raducanu shook off a nervy start against the Swiss to win in 82 minutes and become the fourth youngest woman to qualify for the US Open semi-finals after Pam Schriver, Chris Evert and Venus Williams.
Emma Raducanu has been praised as a problem solver who gets under opponents’ skin by Annabel Croft
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier to make it to the US Open last four after beating Belinda Bencic (above)
And former British star Croft says her ability to quickly understand the game situation at such a young age was pivotal to her ‘dismantling’ the 11th seed in New York.
‘It has been one way traffic. She has had a couple of nervy starts, but she is a problem solver and once she figured out what was going on and relaxed and found her flow, she totally dismantled the former world No 4 and current Olympic champion,’ Croft told Amazon Prime.
‘Psychologically, you can see how she gets under the skin of all her opponents, she is so mentally strong. Bencic’s game just evaporated, she got tight and nervous and could not cope.’
Former British No 1 Tim Henman admitted he did not expect Raducanu to beat Bencic, but praised the British star’s resilience and ‘gutsy’ tennis.
Croft (left) said Raducanu completely ‘dismantled’ Bencic, who could not cope with her
Raducanu is also the fourth youngest woman in US Open history to make the semi-finals
‘I didn’t see it, I felt confident with the matchups throughout the tournament but this was a step up in class.
‘Bencic did not miss a shot in the first two-and-a-half games, but Emma’s resilience… she plays moment and keeps her calm and hits spots on serve.
‘As you get closer and closer [to winning] it gets harder and harder, she had match point, she had to serve it out, it was gutsy tennis and she fully deserves to be in semi-finals.’
Raducanu will face either Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova or Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the last four, but asked if she could do the unthinkable and win the tournament, Henman added: ‘She is still in the draw, she has controlled what she can.
Former British No 1 Tim Henman praised Raducanu’s resilience and ‘gutsy’ tennis
‘She has not got caught up in all the media attention, she is in a great spot. There is a long way to go, and whoever she plays against she will be underdog, but she is playing with a lot of confidence, that is for sure.’
Meanwhile, former GB Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong added: ‘I couldn’t be prouder, what an achievement, it was another fantastic performance.
‘To win in the manner she did, no one expected it. She looks like she belongs and at home on big stage, and getting better and better with each match.
‘We should be excited, it is a wonderful run for her. She had a slow start, but she got it all together.’
Former Fed Cup captain Anne Keothavong said Raducanu has made the big stage look her own
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