Tennis

Emma Raducanu continues US Open winning streak vs Zhang Shuai to reach third round

Emma Raducanu is into the third round of the US Open after beating Zhang Shuai at Flushing Meadows. The 18-year-old Brit is yet to drop a set in New York across three qualifying matches and two main-draw contests. She will face world No.41 Spaniard Sara Torribes Tormo next, with a potential meeting with world No.1 and Wimbledon champion Ash Barty on the horizon in the last 16.

Raducanu, 18, was in charge from the off and never allowed her Chinese opponent to settle, breaking her in the very first game en route to taking the first set 6-2.

She raced into a 4-0 lead in the second, and then withstood a brief rally for from the 32-year-old before prevailing 6-4.

In the build-up to the clash, Raducanu said she thought the three games she played in qualifying to reach the main draw could give her the edge over Zhang, despite the 32-year-old winning their only previous encounter.

And sure enough, despite Zhang electing to serve a netted forehand saw her lose the opening game to love, and after Raducanu built a 3-1 lead, an epic game of five deuces ended with the British player executing a forehand winner to break again.

At 1-5, Zhang did battle back from 0-30 to avoid a third break but the ruthless Raducanu then comfortably served out the set.

And there was no let-up in early stages of the second set, the British player wasting two early break points before taking a third to again seize the initiative.

Another precise forehand winner secured the double-break two games later, and when Raducanu moved into a 4-0 lead, the contest looked all but over.

Zhang finally rallied though, winner her own service game before a backhand winner set up the chance for a first break of serve – and she duly took it before fighting back in the next game to reduce the deficit to 3-4.

For the first time nerves appeared to be creeping in for Raducanu but she regained her composure to hold to love.

Zhang too kept cool to make Raducanu serve out the match, but a backhand winner gave the latter a 30-15 and Raducanu, in her first overseas Grand Slam, duly finished the job for a 6-2 6-4 win.

It took her just one hour and 21 minutes to knock out the world number 49 and will now prepare for Spaniard Tormo, who enjoyed a 6-1 6-3 second round victory over Su-Wei Hsieh.


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