Qualifier to become champion: Briton Raducanu, 18, wins US Open – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
NEW YORK (AP) – British teenager Emma Raducanu arrived in New York City last month with a 150th ranking, only one Grand Slam appearance under her belt and a flight booked out of town after the preliminary rounds of the US Open in case it doesn’t make it. earn his place in the main tournament.
And she was there at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, cradling the Silver Trophy to complete an unlikely – indeed, unprecedented – and surprisingly dominant trip from qualifying to major champion by beating Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
“The future of women’s tennis, and just the depth of the game right now, is so big,” said Raducanu, 18, who will enter the WTA top 25 on Monday. “I think every player here in the women’s draw definitely has a chance to win any tournament.”
The first woman qualified to reach a Grand Slam final, let alone win one, proved it forcefully. She has won 10 straight matches at Flushing Meadows – three in qualifying, seven in the main draw – and is the first woman to win the US Open title without losing a set since Serena Williams in 2014.
Consider: Not only was this Raducanu’s first tour-level title, but it was his fourth tour-level event.
It was the first major final between two teenage girls since Williams, 17, defeated Martina Hingis, 18, at the 1999 US Open and the first between two unranked women in the professional era, which began in 1968.
“I hope to be back here in the final and this time with a trophy – the good one,” Fernandez said as tears came to his eyes.
Raducanu broke to go up 4-2 in the second set, held for 5-2 and twice was a point to win the title in the next game. But under pressure from Fernandez, she let those two opportunities slip by putting groundstrokes into the net.
“She’s just the competitor she is,” Raducanu said of Fernandez, whom she last faced in the second round of the Wimbledon junior event three years ago.
A bit different at the time.
At 5-3, while serving for the game, Raducanu slipped down the court chasing a ball to her backhand, bloodying her left knee. A coach came out to put a white bandage on the cup and, for more than four minutes just before a breaking point, Fernandez – a 19-year-old southpaw from Canada ranked 73rd – spoke to the referee of Marijana Veljovic chair. .
“Honestly, I didn’t know what was going on with Emma. I had no idea how bad his fall was, which is why I went to the official and asked him about it, ”Fernandez said. “It was just a shame that it happened at that exact moment with me with the momentum. But it’s sport, it’s tennis. I just have to move on.
After the action returned, Raducanu saved a pair of break points, then converted on her third chance to finish with a 108 mph ace, making her the youngest female Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova was 17 at Wimbledon in 2004.
Raducanu dropped his racket, landed on his back and covered his face with both hands.
“I think staying in the moment, focusing on what I needed to do, my process and my state of mind really helps in these difficult times,” she said.
Raducanu, who was born in Toronto and moved to England with her family at the age of 2, is the first British woman to win a Grand Slam trophy since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977. Queen Elizabeth II sent a congratulatory note, hailing the victory as a “remarkable achievement at such a young age.”
Fernandez, whose birthday was Monday, was interviewed in a pre-match interview in the hallway leading from the locker room to the entrance to the pitch about what she expected the biggest challenge to be Saturday either.
“Honestly,” she replied, “I don’t know. “
Fair. Neither she nor Raducanu could have really known.
The two walked out to loud standing ovations – Fernandez’s was slightly louder – and carried their gear bags with both straps over their shoulders, as someone might with a high school backpack (Raducanu a recently completed their exams) or university.
Both showed poise and veteran shooting at the US Open. The talent and affinity for the big stage that both have is undeniable.
The final was filled with entertaining and long points.
One of the significant differences: Fernandez put in just 58% of his first serves and finished with five double faults, helping Raducanu rack up 18 break points.
“I unfortunately made too many mistakes at key moments,” Fernandez said, “and she took advantage of it.”
The crowd was so quiet just before and during the points that right-hander Raducanu’s leg snap could be heard while waiting to receive serves or his exhaling whisper as he swung his racquet.
And people – delighted to be back on site after the pandemic ban on all spectators last year – got so loud after the points, celebrating with left-hander’s physical trainer Fernandez, who would jump from his seat at the ranked first when things were going its way from the player.
Fernandez’s squad – comprising two sisters and mum but not dad, who stayed at home in Florida, where they moved after her early junior successes several years ago – were in the box for the best player. classified. It’s a status Fernandez wasn’t used to as she beat four seeds in a row, each in three sets: defending champion Naomi Osaka and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, No.2 Aryna Sabalenka. and # 5 Elina Svitolina.
This meant Fernandez had arrived after spending over 12 and a half hours on the pitch in his six games; Raducanu’s main draw total was around 7.5 hours.
That seemed to be a factor, especially during the second half of the hour and 51 minute final.
From 4 to all in the first set, Raducanu has won eight of the last 11 games. When she broke to take that set with a well-paced, well-placed forehand down the line, she looked around, then whipped her arms – and fans responded.
Raducanu’s only previous Grand Slam tournament was at Wimbledon, where she stopped playing in the fourth round due to respiratory issues. It was in July, when Raducanu was ranked outside of the top 300 and an unknown.
How quickly it all changed.
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