Heading into the U.S. Open ranked 150 in the world, Raducanu had to play qualifying just to reach the main draw, and she had actually never won a qualifying match at any major in her career up to that point. But she took care of business, winning all three matches in straight sets. Into the main draw, Raducanu had a fortunate draw, not having to face any player inside the world’s top 40 through her first four matches. Still, she went through these matches with ruthless efficiency, dropping zero sets and a grand total of just 15 games in the process.
Raducanu’s first big test with the national media now looking down upon her came in the quarterfinals against Belinda Bencic, who just a few years ago was a young star with mountains of expectations put upon her. Bencic, ranked 12 in the world, was the heavy favorite. After only 82 minutes on court, Raducanu had once again powered her way past an opponent with far more experience. It was a similar story in the semi-finals, where she faced Maria Sakkari, a now top 10 player who had been surging all season. This one only took 84 minutes, and Raducanu booked her spot in the final in even more convincing style, dropping just five games.