Britain's Emma Raducanu 18, beat Canada's Leylah Fernandez 19, in all-teen US Open final

By Rek Hanibal Published on September 12, 2021
Britain's Emma Raducanu 18,  beat Canada's Leylah Fernandez 19, in all-teen US Open final

British teenager Emma Raducanu won her first grand slam title by defeating Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the US Open final Saturday, completing a spectacular run at Flushing Meadows' first all-teen final since 1999. With her straight-set victory, Raducanu did not drop a set in the entire tournament.

"It was a tough match, but I thought the level was extremely high," Raducanu said afterwards, congratulating Fernandez on the way she has played over the course of the tournament. "And I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and, hopefully, finals."

Raducanu repelled a brief rally by Fernandez in the second set to take the title. Up 5-2 in the second set, Raducanu twice needed just one more point to win it all. But Fernandez fought back each time and eventually won the game to make it 5-3.

Then at 5-3, Raducanu skinned her knee in a lunge on the baseline during a point that left her 30-40 behind in the game. After a medical timeout to tend to the bleeding knee, the serving Raducanu stormed back from the breakpoint to take the championship game.

"Staying in the moment, focusing on what I had to do and my process and the mindset just really helped in those tough times," she said.

The fact that the 18-year-old reached the final in the first place is astonishing. The fact she won it -- historic. Raducanu, born to a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, had to go through three qualifying rounds to make the main draw for her second grand slam appearance.

The 18-year-old had become the first qualifier in either men's or women's tennis to reach a grand slam final, and now, she has become the first qualifier to win one.

Even Raducanu expressed surprise at her dream run during the tournament, joking after her quarterfinal victory over Olympic champion Belinda Bencic that she had booked a flight home "at the end of qualifying."

Incredibly, Raducanu did not drop a single set in the tournament and blew away far more experienced opponents as it progressed.

When asked how she maintains such composure in high-pressure moments, Raducanu credited the lessons she received from her parents when growing up.

"I think that the calmness and the mental strength definitely comes from my upbringing," she said ahead of the final.

"I think my parents have both instilled in me from a very young age to definitely have a positive attitude on the court because, yeah, when I was younger, it was definitely an absolute no-go if I had any bad attitude."

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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