Several months ago, British teenager Emma Raducanu was an unknown name in tennis and the world’s No. 338 ranked player with zero appearances in the main-draws in the Majors. But thanks to an unprecedented run at this year’s US Open, Raducanu is now the Grand Slam winner.
Raducanu won the title at Flushing Meadows after overcoming Leylah Fernandez, a fellow teenager from Canada, in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) over the weekend.
Both players entered the match with a surprising calmness considering it was their first appearance on such a big stage. But Raducanu was the one who handled the pressure better, forcing Fernandez to make mistakes and taking advantage of her break point opportunities. She also managed to keep her serve in check compared to Fernandez, who double-faulted five times.
Fernandez saw a glimpse of hope in the second set when she denied Raducanu two championship points and managed to make it 5-3. Still, Raducanu didn’t allow herself any further slip-ups and managed to wrap up the match in her favor in the following set.
Raducanu made history with the US Open win, becoming the first female player to win the tournament after entering the main-draw from the qualifiers. She also became the first since Serena Williams to lift the trophy without surrendering a single set. Her run had several other firsts, including becoming the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977.
Fernandez’s run was almost equally impressive despite the defeat. Prior to the US Open, the Canadian had just seven majors appearances and never made it past the third round. At Flushing Meadows, however, she not only reached the finals but also knocked out some of the best players in tennis today. This included defending champion Naomi Osaka, former US Open winner Angelique Kerber, and the world’s No.2 player Aryna Sabalenka.