• Matt Johns

Raducanu Makes History in New York



Emma Raducanu completed one of the greatest underdog stories of all time on Saturday evening, after winning the US Open final against fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez, 6-4 6-3. Raducanu is the first ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam title and is the first British woman to win a major since 1977.

Two and a half weeks ago the 18-year-old was aiming to qualify for her second ever Grand Slam tournament, after a breakthrough wildcard run at Wimbledon.

She brushed past her three qualifier opponents in straight sets, however what we were yet to realise is that this would be a common theme for the Brit in Flushing Meadows.

After advancing to the main draw, Raducanu only dropped 27 games in her six matches en route to the final, with some dominant displays against players of a much higher ranking.

Some of her most impressive victories came against Olympic Champion Belinda Bencic, the ever-resilient Maria Sakkari, as well as a crushing display against Sara Sorribes Tormo, where she only dropped one game.

Her final opponent Fernandez had been having a breakthrough tournament herself, beating three top five players and former champion Angelique Kerber on her way to her first Grand Slam final.

The Canadian turned 19 in New York and following her semi-final victory over Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, made it one of the youngest Grand Slam finals in history.

The two teenagers entered a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium to a raucous New York crowd, and they did not disappoint.

The first set was a back and forth contest, with many long rallies and both women got early breaks. But it was Raducanu who took the set, with a forceful forehand down the line out of the Canadian’s reach.

Raducanu, who has only just received her A Levels, has been used to having the crowds on her side, being the underdog throughout the tournament. However, this time round the crowd was more split, with them perhaps siding with their North American neighbour, Fernandez.

Fernandez responded well to going a set down, getting an early break and used the crowd to her full advantage. However, Raducanu retaliated straight back bringing things level and from then on, the British woman took control.

It took three Championship points and a bloody knee, but after one hour and 51 minutes, an ace made Emma Raducanu the US Open champion.

She has broken record upon record these past few months and her ranking has skyrocketed, from being outside of the top 300, to now being a seeded player and British number one.

Her predecessor Virginia Wade was in attendance and it is fair to say, that was a performance she would have been proud of.

Raducanu has astounded the tennis world, by winning 20 sets in a row in a comfortable fashion, in only her second Grand Slam tournament.

She has described her stay in New York as the ‘best time of her life’, and it is not surprising really, as she is now $2.5million dollars richer.

The teenage sensation is set to receive a New Year’s honour from the Queen and is likely to be the most sought-after star in British sport.

She will now have a target on her back for the upcoming tournaments, but if we have learnt anything from these last couple of weeks, it is that she has a very strong head on her shoulders.

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