Rampant Emma Raducanu to face Leylah Fernandez in all-teenage US Open final

Jonathan Davies in US Open 10 Sep 2021
Raducanu became the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final (Paul Zimmer via www.imago-images.de/Imago/PA Images)

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.

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US Open 2021 Results

Thursday September 9

Semi-Finals

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Aryna Sabalenka (2) 6-7, 6-4, 4-6 Leylah Fernandez
Emma Raducanu 6-1, 6-4 Maria Sakkari

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