To lift a trophy of grand slam, a tennis player needs to win seven matches in a row. Emma Raducanu won ten to become champion of US Open, in this Saturday. The 18-year-old Briton needed three more wins because she came from qualifying, becoming the first tennis player in history to win a Grand Slam, both female and male, after overcoming the preliminary round. The historic feat came with a triumph over also young Leilah Fernandez, from Canada, by 2 sets to 0, with partials of 6/4 and 6/3.
The achievement is also surprising because Raducanu disputed the main draw of a Grand Slam for the second time in his career – the first time was at Wimbledon, in July, when he also distinguished himself. Current number 150 in the world, she now becomes the second worst-ranked player in history to win a Major. She was still champion without losing a single set, even surpassing the unusual amount of games.
The 18-year-old tennis player, 14th champion other than a Major since 2015, ended a 44-year-old fast for tennis in her country. A Brit hasn’t won a Grand Slam since 1977. The latest was Virginia Wade, who saw Raducanu’s feat from the rostrum on the center court of the US Open in New York. As a bonus, the young tennis player will enter the Top 30 ranking for the first time.
Before the title, this year’s final was already historic for bringing together two debutants in Grand Slam finals. Raducanu and Fernandez, currently 73rd in the world, made the youngest decision at the US Open since 1999, when the American tournament was decided by local Serena Williams, then 17, and Swiss Martina Hingis, 18. Together, the British of 18, and the Canadian, of 19 completed this week, add up to 37 years. For comparison, Serena, the greatest legend of her generation, will reach 40 at the end of the month.
The two finalists this Saturday went down in history as the least experienced in Grand Slam. They add up to just nine participations in tournaments of this level – seven for Fernandez. In addition, it was the first time that the US Open had two tennis players who were not seeded in its final.
Interestingly, the two were born in Canada and are the daughters of immigrants, with wide multicultural diversity in their families. Born in Montreal, Leylah has an Ecuadorian father – Jorge Fernandez was a professional football player – and a mother of Filipino descent. Raducanu, in turn, has a Romanian father and a Chinese mother. She was born in Toronto and moved with her family to London when she was just two years old.
Despite their youth and little experience, the two tennis players showed struggle and hunger to win from the first point. The game started with Raducanu showing more of his aggressive style, breaking his rival’s serve early on and opening 2/0. After hesitating in the first points, Fernandez reacted from his most defensive posture, looking for all the balls in the backcourt.
The 2/2 draw was a natural consequence of the balance that soon emerged in the match. Concentrated, they kept the match evenly until Fernandez hesitated again in the 10th game. The British took advantage, got another break and closed the first set.
The second round started again with Raducanu better. However, this time the Canadian reacted quickly and was responsible for the first break of the set, opening 2/1. The British was even faster to rebalance the duel. She took two breaks in a row, turned the score around on the set and shook her opponent’s confidence.
When leading the score by 5/2, he wasted a match point on the Canadian’s serve, who was fighting hard to stay alive in the match. When serving to close the game and the tournament, Raducanu needed to show even more overcoming power. The final took on an air of drama when she faced a break point and suffered a cut to her knee while slipping on the court. After quick medical assistance on court, he avoided the crash and then closed the final in 1h51min.