Emma Raducanu has taken the tennis world by storm. The 18-year-old is one of only a handful of women – along with Jennifer Capriati, Monica Seles and Chris Evert – to reach the fourth round of both their first two majors, and she has now taken her game to the next level.
At the US Open on Wednesday she beat Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic with a convincing 6-3, 6-4 win to sail through into the semi-finals where she will face Maria Sakkari.
It is a far cry from her hiccup at Wimbledon earlier this year where, against Alja Tomljanovic, Raducanu was forced to retire with breathing difficulties while trailing 6-4, 3-0. She later ascribed it to “an accumulation of excitement and buzz”. Tomljanovic also made the rallies long and draining, and Raducanu admitted afterwards that “The biggest learning was how physically behind I am.” But just how has she made such dramatic strides in the space of only two months?
The most visible change has been the hiring of Andrew Richardson as Raducanu’s new coach. After such a strong run at Wimbledon, this came as a surprise. You might have expected her to stick with the more experienced Nigel Sears, who previously worked with French Open champion Ana Ivanovic among others.