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Friday, September 17, 2021

British teen Emma Raducanu wins US Open title

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Raducanu became the first qualifier to capture a Grand Slam title

Britain’s 18-year-old Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to capture a Grand Slam title by defeating Canada’s 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez on Saturday in the US Open women’s final.

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A dream come true for @EmmaRaducanu pic.twitter.com/gAYrRBlh4t

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Raducanu, ranked 150th, was the first British woman in 44 years to win a Slam crown after dispatching 73rd-ranked left-hander Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.

Raducanu also became the youngest Slam champion since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.

Home away from home.@EmmaRaducanu has made some new friends over three weeks in New York. pic.twitter.com/w3Do5KO2jc

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Not since Virginia Wade in 1977 at Wimbledon had a British woman taken a Slam singles title, with Raducanu the first Briton to claim the US Open crown since Wade in 1968.

Wade and British men’s tennis legend Tim Henman were among a sellout crowd of 23,700 that created an electric atmosphere at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first-ever women’s Slam final between unseeded players.

Believe it. pic.twitter.com/eteA3mDYU7

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

The showdown of prodigy talents was the first all-teen Slam final since 17-year-old Serena Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis for the 1999 US Open crown.

Raducanu is the youngest US Open champion since Williams in 1999 and the first US Open women’s champion not to drop a set since Williams in 2014.

Surreal pic.twitter.com/s29OmIhPGz

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Raducanu had the fewest Slam starts of any women’s Slam winner, reaching the fourth round in July at Wimbledon in her only prior Slam appearance while Fernandez had won only four matches in six prior Slam appearances.

Intense from the start

The drama of a much-anticipated teen dream meeting produced tension from the start.

Everyone has their fairy tale ending @EmmaRaducanu | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/2ttCchmixi

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Fernandez saved five break points in her opening service game of the match before finally surrendering the 10-minute game on a netted forehand to give Raducanu a 2-0 edge.

Fernandez broke back in the third game, Raducanu netting a backhand on the fourth break point she faced.

With each game a roller-coaster of powerful groundstrokes and sensational shotmaking, the first set hung on a knife’s edge game after game.

Raducanu forced three break points on Fernandez’s serve in the 10th game, but sent backhands long, wide and into the net.

The walk of a champion @EmmaRaducanu | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/aOvcNRGkS8

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

On her fourth opportunity, Raducanu blasted a forehand winner to claim the first set after 58 minutes.

In the second set, Fernandez saved three break points and held to 1-1 then broke on a netted backhand by Raducanu to seize a 2-1 edge.

Raducanu broke back to 2-2, blasting a backhand cross-court service return winner to equalise, then later whipped a forehand passing winner by the Canadian to break for a 4-2 advantage.

Raducanu held and forced two match points on Fernandez’s serve in the eighth game but sent a backhand wide and netted a forehand with the title at stake and Fernandez held to 5-3.

Fernandez had a break chance at 30-40 in the ninth game when Raducanu skidded on the court on her left knee and opened a bleeding cut, the match halted while a trainer bandaged the wound.

New York strong @leylahfernandez | #USOpen pic.twitter.com/zaxR0igpxI

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Fernandez, wiping away tears, complained to the umpire about the granting of a medical timeout to no avail.

When play resumed, Fernandez sent a forehand long to squander the break chance and Raducanu ended matters after an hour and 51 minutes on her third ace of the match.

The first chapter in what is sure to be a stellar story. pic.twitter.com/Idu5Xna4kK

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 11, 2021

Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, had ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber in her epic run to the final.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by WC Times staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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