Teenage sensation Emma Raducanu claims remarkable US Open crown
Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era after defeating Leylah Fernandez in straight sets to claim the 2021 US Open crown.
The 18-year-old completed the most remarkable of victories by seeing off fellow teenage sensation Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 at Flushing Meadows.
The first British female Slam champion since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977, Raducanu also became the youngest major winner since Maria Sharapova’s All England Club triumph in 2004.
Having only completed her A-levels a couple of months ago, the world number 150 will climb a whopping 127 places to 23rd in Monday’s updated WTA rankings.
Raducanu’s sensational triumph was also achieved without dropping a single set; making her the first player to do this at the US Open since Serena Williams seven years ago.
This was the first time in 22 years that two teenagers had contested the Ladies’ singles final at Flushing Meadows.
Raducanu had come through three qualifying rounds, before defeating Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic and 17th seed Maria Sakkari in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
Meanwhile, world number 73 Fernandez was looking to become only the second Slam champion from Canada after Bianca Andreescu’s triumph here two years ago.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a brilliant run to the final; defeating former champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, as well as fifth and second seeds Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka.
A tight opening set saw Fernandez immediately cancel out Raducanu’s break in the second game, before going with serve until the 10th.
It was here that the new British number one fashioned four set points on her opponent’s serve; drawing first blood at the fourth attempt with a blistering forehand.
Seeking to become the first woman to win a Slam in only her second main-draw appearance, Raducanu responded brilliantly to being broken in the third game of the second set.
Another thumping forehand winner then saw her crucially break in game six, before powering through her own service game to stand on the brink of victory at 5-2.
Fernandez dug deep; fending off two Championship points before Raducanu served for the chance to become only the fourth British female Slam winner after Wade, Ann Jones and Sue Barker.
The 18-year-old was forced to take a medical timeout at 30-40 behind after sustaining a nasty cut to her knee while attempting to return a powerful Fernandez forehand, much to the dismay of her opponent.
Nevertheless, she quickly regained her composure to rescue that break point, before a stunning ace secured the perfect ending to what has been a fairy-tale run in New York.
Raducanu becomes the third British player to triumph in the Big Apple during the Open Era; after Wade in 1968 and Andy Murray 44 years later.
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) September 11, 2021
Two remarkable teenagers will square off in the 2021 Women’s US Open Final on Saturday as Emma Raducanu takes on Leylah Fernandez.
Raducanu is now one step away to complete what would be arguably the greatest success in women’s tennis history. She is the first qualifier in history to reach a Grand Slam final and she has done that in style without dropping a single set.
The 18-year-old has already won nine matches at Flushing Meadows and dropped only 43 games. Prior to the US Open, Raducanu had only three pro titles under her belt (two W15s in 2018 and a W25 in India in 2019). Her biggest final came last month in Chicago where she fell short to Clara Tauson in three sets.
Raducanu had played against mediocre opponents in the first rounds, but her recent mesmerizing victories over Bencic and Sakkari proved how much of a formidable force she is.
Fernandez’s run to the 2021 US Open final is also one of the most impressive of all time. She has beaten three of the top five seeds en route to the final.
They have included Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka, as well as a former world number one – Angelique Kerber.
She has spent more hours on the pitch than Raducanu, which is understandable given the quality of the opponents she faced. Her last four matches have all gone the distance and has played 5 tiebreakers in six matches overall.
Only two Canadian women have ever played in a Grand Slam final in the Open Era. Eugenie Bouchard lost to Petra Kvitova at 2014 Wimbledon, while Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open.
It should be a close contest between these two talented players, so our prediction is Over 2.5 Sets at odds of 69/50 with Bet365.
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Watch Emma Raducanu v Leylah Fernandez in the 2021 US Open Final streamed live on laptop, mobile or tablet devices
Emma Raducanu’s fairytale run in New York continued as she booked her place in the US Open final with a straight-sets victory over Maria Sakkari.
The 18-year-old became the first qualifier to reach a Slam final following a dominant 6-1, 6-4 success over the 17th seed on Ashe.
Appearing in the main draw of a Slam for only the second time, Raducanu is yet to drop a set in nine matches at Flushing Meadows, where the last British female finalist was Virginia Wade back in 1968.
The teen is set to become the new British number one next week, having also seen off Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the quarter-finals.
She built on that momentum with a blistering start against Sakkari, who was aiming to become the first Ladies finalist from Greece at a Slam.
Raducanu capitalised on four double faults from her opponent, breaking twice as she wrapped up the first set in just 36 minutes.
That was only the second set dropped by Sakkari, who was appearing in her second Slam semi-final having also appeared at this stage of the French Open in June.
The 26-year-old had been a point away from reaching the Roland Garros showpiece against eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.
However, her dwindling hopes of getting that opportunity this time around were continually dented by hugely impressive play from Raducanu, who broke again in game three.
The set then went with serve as the world number 150 demonstrated nerves of steel on the biggest stage to set up an all-teenage final with Leylah Fernandez, who edged out second seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.
Like Raducanu, world number 74 Fernandez has enjoyed an impressive maiden fortnight in the Big Apple; taking out former champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber prior to today, along with fifth seed Elina Svitolina.
Sabalenka arrived in her second successive Slam semi-final boasting an 18-2 record against players ranked outside the top 50 in 2021.
The second seed made a strong start by dropping just two points and breaking her opponent on the way to a 3-0 lead, but Fernandez responded in game seven before dominating the tie-break 7-3 to draw first blood.
Sabalenka made 52 unforced errors throughout the contest and demonstrated her frustration when smashing her racket at 3-2 down in the second set.
Nevertheless, the Belarusian regained her composure by winning four of the next five games to ensure the contest went to a decider.
But despite immediately cancelling out a Fernandez break to level at 4-4, the mistakes continued to plague Sabalenka.
Indeed, a double fault and forehand error during her final service game was pounced on by the 19-year-old, who becomes the second Canadian finalist at Flushing Meadows in three years after 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu.
US Open 2021 Results
Thursday September 9
Arthur Ashe Stadium
Aryna Sabalenka (2) 6-7, 6-4, 4-6 Leylah Fernandez
Emma Raducanu 6-1, 6-4 Maria Sakkari
Petra Kvitova faces Leylah Fernandez in the third round of Roland Garros – can the 18-year-old Canadian cause a huge upset?
Petra Kvitova vs Leylah Annie Fernandez | French Open R3 | 3/10/2020, 2pm BSTKvitova -6.5 games 47/20 Bet Now! New Customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org.
Kvitova vs Fernandez is live from Roland Garros on Saturday 3 October, 3pm local/2pm BST
Petra Kvitova hasn’t reached the last 16 at the French Open since 2015 – and in order to do so in 2020, she will have to stop the winning run of one of the WTA’s most talented teenagers, Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez.
The trilingual Fernandez beat a top-10 player the first time she was faced with one and has defeated veterans Magda Linette and Polona Hercog to reach the third round: Can she add Kvitova to her list of scalps?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
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Kvitova vs Fernandez: Head-to-head
This is the first meeting between Petra Kvitova and Leylah Annie Fernandez.
Kvitova vs Fernandez: Preview
With second seed Karolina Pliskova suffering a shock defeat to Jelena Ostapenko on Thursday, seventh seed Petra Kvitova is now arguably one of the favourites to make the semifinals at the French Open – something she hasn’t done since 2012, when she beat Ashleigh Barty (then ranked outside the top 300) in the first round and did not face a seeded player before losing to Maria Sharapova in the semis.
In subsequent years Kvitova has only once made it as far as the round of 16, with the big-serving Czech not bad at playing on clay, but preferring less traditional conditions than the ones prevailing at Roland Garros: She’s won the high-altitude Madrid Open twice, and in 2019 claimed the Stuttgart title, adding to her established mastery of indoors tennis.
Kvitova played her first match at the French Open under the roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier, and seemingly enjoyed it, beating Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-5; in the second round, she was outdoors, but had few difficulties against Italy’s Jasmine Paolini. While it seems counterintuitive that Kvitova might perform well in these slower conditions, it’s been established that the ability to power the ball through the court, to hit flat as well as with the usual heavy spin of summer clay, can be effective at this autumnal French Open – and Kvitova can do that with ease.
At last year’s French Open, Leylah Annie Fernandez was the junior champion; just a couple of months later she would win her first professional title at the $25k in Gatineau, and would end the year ranked just outside the top 200. Already in 2020 she has climbed all the way to world no. 100 – and that’s with a six-month shutdown of the sport. Fernandez successfully qualified for the Australian Open, then reached her first WTA Tour final in Acapulco as a qualifier, finishing runner-up to Heather Watson; she went on to make the quarterfinals in Monterrey, then returned from shutdown to win back-to-back matches in Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’.
Defeated in the second round of the US Open by Sofia Kenin, Fernandez lost her only warm-up match on clay in Rome when she was defeated by Stefanie Voegele in the first round of qualifying. But at Roland Garros, it’s been a different story: Three-set wins over 31st seed Magda Linette and dangerous veteran Polona Hercog, the latter particularly hard and impressively fought by the young Canadian.
Fernandez has already claimed her first win over a top-10 player when she beat Belinda Bencic in Fed Cup earlier this year, and I don’t expect her to be overawed by Kvitova. The teenager has an enviable attitude and seems, so far, to be a great competitor, not to mention a blur of energy on the court. Like Kvitova, she’s a lefty, but she doesn’t play the unabashed first-strike tennis of Kvitova. She’s very good at constructing points, but if Kvitova serves well, I’m not sure that there will be much Fernandez can do about it – the match is on Kvitova’s racquet, but if she falters, the youngster will be there to take advantage.