Emma Raducanu has stormed into the quarter finals of the US Open without dropping a set.
The remarkable charge of the 18-year-old is the talk of Flushing Meadows, with praise flooding in from the great and the good of tennis.
“It’s not hype, it’s real,” said Martina Navratilova, the 18-time Grand Slam winner.
“Emma Raducanu is proving she is here to stay,” said Boris Becker, who won his first major at 17 years old.
“Incredible,” said Tim Henman, the former Wimbledon semi-finalist.
But her greatest challenge lies ahead.
Until now, Raducanu has never faced a top 40 player in her professional career.
At Wimbledon, she retired in the fourth round due to breathing difficulties while facing Ajla Tomljanovic, the world No 46. On Monday, she coolly dispatched Shelby Rogers – the world No 43.
But through quirks of the draw Raducanu has never tested herself against the best in the women’s game. Until now. On Wednesday she will face Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic, the world No 12.
Her Swiss opponent has not lost a set at the championship either, although a 26-point tie-break in her last match pushed her close.
Flushing Meadows has been Bencic’s most successful Grand Slam venue and this is the third time she has reached the last eight, with her best result a semi-final run two years ago.
The 5ft 9in Swiss will pose a new challenge for Raducanu. Coached by her father and playing in the style of Martina Hingis, the 24-year-old has a wicked backhand and enjoys taking the ball early.
Raducanu has thrived on taking the game to her opponents so far, dictating points and covering the court with her incessant running but Bencic will try and nullify the threat.
The Swiss knows what it’s like to be a teenage star.
Bencic was 18 when she broke into the world’s top 10. Raducanu was ranked 150 before this tournament. Bencic was also younger than Raducanu when she first made the last eight at the US Open.
“I was 17 when I made my first quarter-final,” Bencic said this week.
“Now I definitely learn how it is to be in the second week, how to manage these quarter-finals, semi-finals. I also feel the Olympics helped me a lot in this.
“I played big matches there, as well, and I kind of know now how it feels to go deep in a tournament, and an important tournament. It definitely feels good.”
Bencic swept aside Iga Swiatek, the No 7 seed from Poland who won last year’s French Open.
Swiatek was the only women’s player to reach the fourth round in every major this year. But Raducanu is not afraid of a challenge.
Support from back home and on the court in New York is overwhelming.
“Epic stuff,” said Katie Boulter on Instagram after Monday’s win. “My partner,” said Naomi Broady, with a heart emoji.
Focus now turns to Wednesday.
“I know Belinda. She has a lot of experience on the tour. She’s in great form, having won Olympic gold,” said Raducanu on Monday evening.
“I’m also feeling good about my game, also confident with the amount of matches I’ve played. I feel like I’m building with each one.
“It will be an extremely difficult match. I know if I’m going to have a chance, I’m going to have to play some really good tennis.”
Raducanu has played some really good tennis so far. But her next match will be by far her toughest.
“Rogers did not pose threats, but Bencic is different class and the clear favourite,” Tim Henman told Amazon Prime.
If she wins, the 18-year-old will become Britain’s top-ranked female tennis player.
“I am surprised that I’m here,” she said candidly on Monday.
“I knew I was doing a lot of great work that would pay off someday, but you never know when.”