UK’s Raducanu makes historical past with US Open victory | Information
Emma Raducanu, 18, is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title in 44 years and the first qualification to win a major.
The 18-year-old British Emma Raducanu became the first qualifying player to win a Grand Slam title when she defeated the Canadian Leylah Fernandez (19) in the tennis final of the US Open on Saturday.
The 150th Raducanu completed their Grand Slam fairy tale by beating Fernandez in straight sets – 6-4, 6-3 – and being crowned champion.
She is also the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title in 44 years.
No British woman had won a major tournament since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977. Raducanu was the first Briton to win the US Open crown since Wade in 1968.
Wade and British tennis legend Tim Henman were among the 23,700 sold-out spectators who created an electrifying atmosphere between unset players in the first women’s slam final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“It means so much to have Virginia here and Tim too,” said Raducanu after her victory. “Having such British legends and icons to follow in their footsteps really helped me and definitely gave me the belief that I could actually do it.”
A dream comes true for @EmmaRaducanu 🏆 pic.twitter.com/gAYrRBlh4t
– US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021
1 hour 51 minutes
The showdown of the wondrous talents was the first pure teen slam final since 17-year-old Serena Williams defeated 18-year-old Martina Hingis for the 1999 US Open title.
The drama of the eagerly anticipated meeting created suspense from the start.
Fernandez saved five breakpoints in her opening game of the game before eventually giving up the 10-minute game with a net-tied forehand to give Raducanu a 2-0 lead.
Fernandez fell back in game three, with Raducanu scoring a backhand at the fourth breakpoint she faced.
With every game a roller coaster ride with powerful basic strokes and sensational shots, the first sentence hung on the edge game after game.
Raducanu forced three breakpoints on Fernandez’s serve in the 10th game, but sent a long backhand into the net. On her fourth chance, Raducanu shot a forehand winner and took the first set after 58 minutes.
Raducanu (L) hugs Fernandez after their match in the women’s singles finals [Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports]
Fernandez saved three breakpoints in the second set and held to 1-1, then Raducanu broke with a net-tied backhand to score a 2-1 cross.
Raducanu fell back to 2-2, shot a backhand cross-court service return winner to equalize, then later whipped a Canadian’s forehand pass winner to create a 4-2 lead.
Raducanu held and forced two match points on Fernandez’s serve in game eight, but sent a backhand to score a forehand with the title at stake and Fernandez saved 5-3.
Fernandez had a break chance in the ninth game at 30:40 when Raducanu skidded on his left knee on the court and opened a bleeding cut, the game was interrupted while a coach bandaged the wound.
Fernandez wiped his tears away and complained to the referee about being granted medical time out to no avail. When the game resumed, Fernandez sent a long forehand to squander the break chance and Raducanu finished things off after an hour and 51 minutes with their third ace of the game.
She did it 🔥 🔥 @EmmaRaducanu writes British tennis history at the #USOpen with the most incredible performance 🎾 pic.twitter.com/4ojIaZS9fs
– Team GB (@TeamGB) September 11, 2021
‘A star Is Born’
Raducanu is the youngest US Open winner since Serena Williams in 1999 and the first US Open winner since Williams in 2014.
She had the fewest slam starts of all slam winners and reached the fourth round in her only slam appearance at Wimbledon in July, while Fernandez had only won four games in six previous slam appearances.
She also became the youngest ever Grand Slam winner since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova congratulated Raducanu on her victory on Saturday.
“A star is born – Emma Raducanu makes history – no qualifier has ever won a major – men or women – and it’s just getting started,” tweeted Navratilova. “Leylah Fernandez will be back – both are champions, but Emma did the trophy – well !!”
Queen Elizabeth II also congratulated Raducanu on winning the tournament, calling her performance “a remarkable achievement at such a young age” and one that “will inspire the next generation of tennis players”.