Not even in the most optimistic prediction Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez imagined being in the decision of the US Open. On the contrary. The two do not hide the surprise of being able to reach such a level, especially so young. At 18 and 19 years old respectively, the British and Canadian knocked out favorites, broke records and will star in the youngest final in New York since 1999, when Serena Williams, just 17, beat Martina Hingis, with 18.
SportTV 3 broadcasts the women’s final this Saturday, starting at 5 pm.
On that occasion, the young Serena still on the rise won her first Grand Slam title. Today, at 39, the multi-champion is older than the sum of the ages of Raducanu and Fernandez, who are still taking their first steps on the WTA circuit. And despite their young age, they showed that they are here to stay. Never having faced each other professionally, the two will battle to end this fantastic campaign at the US Open with the title.
Raducanu and Fernandez face off in the US Open final — Photo: Reproduction / US Open
Raducanu is already used to breaking records. The youngest Brit to reach the round of 16 at Wimbledon when she was out of the top 300, the 18-year-old has further improved her score at the US Open and became the first competitor to come from qualifying to advance to the tournament decision. In addition, she may be the first athlete from her country to be champion in the women’s singles group in New York since 1968, when Virginia Wade won the trophy.
Without losing any set in the tournament so far, Raducanu scored nine straight victories, defeating important names on the circuit along the way such as the Swiss Belinda Bencic, gold medalist in the Tokyo Olympics. The campaign is surprising even for the British, who revealed to have bought the tickets back after qualifying, as she expected an early elimination at the US Open.
– I didn’t expect to be here. So much so that he had booked the flight back after qualifying. I was 18 months without competing, but now I’m here to show that, if you believe in yourself, anything is possible – said Emma.
Emma Raducanu became British younger in a US Open final — Photo: Elsa / Getty Images
If Raducanu’s trajectory is incredible, mainly due to broken records, Leylah Fernandez’s is monstrous, mainly due to the opponents she left behind. At 19, the Canadian eliminated in sequence the Japanese Naomi Osaka, former leader of the bi-champion ranking in New York, the German Angelique Kerber, Grand Slams champion and owner of an Olympic gold, the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, top 5 in the world , and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, one of the top favorites for the US Open title this season.
Living in a “magical” moment, as she said, Fernandez recalled all the difficulties she had experienced during this process and mentioned a specific situation, where a teacher told her to drop tennis, as she would not be successful.
– A lot of people doubted me, my family and my dreams. They kept saying that I wouldn’t be a professional tennis player, that I should stop and just go on with my studies. I remember a teacher in a situation that is now very funny, but then it wasn’t. She told me to stop playing tennis, which I would never be able to, and asked me to focus on school – he revealed.
Leylah Fernandez performing at the US Open — Photo: Getty Images
Regardless of the outcome, Raducanu and Fernandez have already made history and brought all the spotlight in the tennis world to this incredible journey at the US Open. In addition, the rise in the rankings is already a reality, putting the two of them on the route of the big tournaments. Only one of the two will come out with the trophy and with the eternal name among the Grand Slam champions, but both have already shown that it is possible to overcome adversity, even playing against the best in the world.