What Teenager Emma Raducanu did to become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade 44years ago
Despite coming into the US Open tournament as a wildcard and haven’t even played a tour-level three-set match or win a match at a WTA tour event before, Emma Raducanu may have told one of the greatest underdog stories sports has produced with her 6-4 6-3 win over 19-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez to earn the US Open title without dropping a set.
Coming out top in a slam final that comprised two unseeded teenagers, Raducanu becomes the first qualifier to win a Grand slam title in what happens to be her second main draw appearance at a major – In her first major attempt at Wimbledon some few weeks ago, she was made to retire from her fourth-round tie with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing issues.
The 18-years-old (Raducanu) latest achievement simply means that she now holds the record of the fewest attempts required by any woman to win their first championship in the Open era and this also makes her the youngest women’s tennis player to lift a major trophy since 2004 when Maria Sharapova stunned Serena Williams in the final at the Wimbledon.
Raducanu winning a Grand Slam tournament as a qualifier may not even be the highlight of her US Open campaign. She just won her first Grand Slam trophy without dropping a set. The last women’s tennis player with this feat in the US Open was Serena Williams in 2014. Emma Raducanu played 14 sets in this just-concluded tournament and she won every single one of them (including her six-set wins in her three qualifying games).
Raducanu had so much praise for her opponent and the New York City in her post-match interview: “I want to congratulate Leylah and her team on an incredible fortnight, she’s beaten some of the best players in the world and it was a difficult match with a high level. I hope we can play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals. As for the three weeks in New York, having such a supportive team, my coach, the fitness team, Will, my agent, the LTA – everybody that is here and everyone watching back at home, thank you so much. Most of all thank you to New York for making me feel so at home, from my first qualifying match, all the way to the final I have loved playing in front of you and you have spurred me on in some difficult moments. Somehow I feel and I thought that would throw me off balance as I was going to have to serve, I was just praying not for a double fault, but we got through it!”
Raducanu and Fernandez Road to the Final
Round One: def. Stefanie Vögele, 6-2, 6-3
Round Two: def. Zhang Shuai, 6-2, 6-4
Round Three: def. Sara Sorribes Tormo, 6-0, 6-1
Round Four: def. Shelby Rogers, 6-2, 6-1
Quarter-Final: def. No. 11 Belinda Bencic, 6-3, 6-4
Semi-Final: def. No. 17 Maria Sakkari, 6-1, 6-4
Round One: def. Ana Konjuh, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
Round Two: def. Kaia Kanepi, 7-5, 7-5
Round Three: def. No. 3 Naomi Osaka, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
Round Four: def. No. 16 Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 7-6( 7-5), 6-2
Quarter-Final: def. No. 5 Elina Svitolina, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
Semi-Final: def. No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4