British teenage sensation Emma Raducanu sends Stefanie Vogele to the second round of the US Open in straight sets
- Emma Raducanu took control of the match by winning the first set 6-2
- Stefanie Vogele fought back in the second, but Raducanu held her back 6-3
- British star became known for her performances at Wimbledon
- She is the first British teenager to win the main draw at the US Open since Laura Robson
After taking a seventh match point, Emma Raducanu lit up Flushing Meadows last night with a beaming smile that said she had made it to the second round of the US Open.
The 18-year-old from Kent became the first British teenager since Laura Robson to win a main draw in New York when she rejected Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele 6-2 6-3.
Barring a mini-drama at the end, when she missed six chances to finish the match, it was another very confident performance from Raducanu, who has now won four matches from the start of qualifying without dropping a set.
Emma Raducanu has advanced to the second round of the US Open in straight sets
The 18-year-old looked confident as she rode to a one-set lead with a 6-2 win in the first
Again she defeated a nominally higher ranked player in Voegele, but now the slope gets steeper with world number 49 Shuai Zhang of Chine awaiting the next round.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” declared a beaming Raducanu, who last played at this venue in the 2018 juniors, while still a schoolgirl.
“Everyone could see I got a little shaky at the end, I was so relieved to finish it.”
Amid more steaming heat, she was resolute against a seasoned opponent with a headstrong serve and useful backhand. Every time the rallies went by several shots, it always seemed like Raducanu had the better of her.
“I’m pretty used to the conditions and the heat and humidity, I feel really good physically and I’m confident in my game. I was broken in both sets, but immediately managed to make some clean returns.”
She would play against the number fourteen in the world against Jennifer Brady, the defeated finalist of this year’s Australian Open. That game would take place in the huge Louis Armstrong Stadium, which would have been the largest field the British teenager has played on in her career.
However, when Brady withdrew due to a foot injury, the match was relegated to the smaller Court 17, known as The Pit due to its sunken nature allowing little cooling breeze to circulate.
Vogele was dumped out of the tournament in straight sets by the 18-year-old
Raducanu has improved her service and it has paid off at Flushing Meadows
Voegele was promoted to the draw as a ‘lucky loser’ after being eliminated in the final round of last week’s qualifying event. She had achieved that after saving a match point in her second match against Raducanu’s close friend, Surrey’s Jodie Anna Burrage.
Nevertheless, the Swiss brought a lot of experience, having reached the top fifty in the world in 2013. Her father died the following year and she has not been able to improve her career-high ranking of 42.
While on paper an easier draw for Raducanu, it is also true that lucky losers sometimes play with a little more freedom, as they have been given an unexpected chance to take advantage of their luck.
Voegele certainly started out as someone who played with few worries, stringing together some winners and then shooting to the net to break her opponent’s serve in the third game.
The reaction was unflappable and Raducanu immediately broke back in love. It would never resemble the game that preceded them on any other of these fast fields in Flushing Meadows, where Reilly Opelka, a meter tall, pumped down 33 aces on his way to a quick win.
Raducanu supported her appearances at Wimbledon in the summer with another big screen
A run of eight straight runs saw the younger player regain her lead. It was better to get into the next game as she broke the Swiss again by leaning into a backhand and driving a winner to lead 4-2.
Part of Raducanu’s game that looked more like her at Wimbledon was her serve, but the improvement was evident as she pushed through into the first set.
By the time she closed the opener with a fifth game in a row, she was approaching 80% of her first serve, a threshold that was crossed early in the second.
With a smooth action from her 5′ 9′ it is a shot that pays off in these conditions. Nevertheless, it couldn’t save her when Voegele repeated the trick of breaking in the third game, but got the same answer as in the first set from Raducanu, who equalized immediately.
She broke decisively for 5-3 in the second set, despite the Swiss rally coming stronger from behind, then forged to 40-0 before becoming a little nervous at close range of victory.
Raducanu’s co-qualifier, Leicestershire’s Katie Boulter, was the last of the British singles players in the first round. On Tuesday evening she had to compete against Russia’s number 52 in the world, Liudmila Samsonova.