US Open: Qualifier Raducanu makes history after powering past Fernandez in pulsating final

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in tennis history to win a grand slam final after beating Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the US Open final on Saturday.

Eighteen-year-old Raducanu, who was ranked 150 by the WTA before the tournament and had only played in one other major (Wimbledon earlier this year), enjoyed a sensational run at Flushing Meadows and proved too strong for Fernandez, 19, who was also contesting her first grand slam final.

Briton Raducanu – the youngest women's grand slam finalist since a 17-year-old Maria Sharapova took the title at Wimbledon in 2004 – showed no signs of nerves in the opening set, taking a decisive advantage.

A roller-coaster second set could have gone either way, but from a break down, Raducanu hit back to serve out the victory in an epic final between two of tennis' rising stars.

Neither player looked fazed by the magnitude of the occasion during the first set, with a series of high-quality rallies and superb winners lighting up Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Raducanu started strongly and went 2-0 up after a pulsating game on Fernandez’s serve, which lasted more than 10 minutes and had seen the Canadian save five break points before eventually succumbing.

Fernandez responded well, though, breaking back immediately before restoring parity on her own serve.

The first set went with serve until Fernandez was serving to stay in it at 5-4 down.

Raducanu squandered three set points before ultimately taking her fourth with a thumping forehand down the line, securing the lead after exactly one hour.

The British player had three break points in the second game of the second set, but Fernandez rallied to hold.

That recovery galvanised Fernandez, who broke Raducanu in the next game at the third time of asking, although her opponent broke back immediately with two wonderful backhands to see out the game.

Raducanu held her serve before opening up a 4-2 lead as Fernandez wilted under a string of excellent shots.

After a dramatic medical time out at 30-40 down on her own serve for a cut below her left knee, which left Fernandez visibly frustrated, Raducanu came back out renewed and served an ace to seal arguably the most unlikely grand slam win of all time.

Related items

  • Wimbledon: Hurkacz ace pledge reaches €2,100 but seventh seed exits early Wimbledon: Hurkacz ace pledge reaches €2,100 but seventh seed exits early

    Hubert Hurkacz sent down 21 aces in his first-round match at Wimbledon, enough to raise €2,100 for the people of Ukraine but not enough to reach the second round.

    The seventh seed, who was a semi-finalist at the All England Club last year, promised on the eve of the championships to donate €100 in aid for every one of his aces.

    "Hope my serve works well," Hurkacz wrote on Twitter, and it certainly did across five sets against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

    Having averaged 11.6 aces per match this season – his 452 the third most on the ATP Tour – Hurkacz had 21 to just three double faults in an effective serving display on Monday.

    Unfortunately, Davidovich Fokina was still able to pull off an early upset, narrowly advancing 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 5-7 2-6 7-6 (10-8).

    This was the third top-10 win of Davidovich Fokina's career but the first on grass, with his previous two such victories both coming at the Monte-Carlo Masters (vs Matteo Berrettini in 2021 and versus Novak Djokovic in 2022).

    While Hurkacz will not add to his ace tally, John Isner undoubtedly will.

    He had a remarkable 54 in his five-set win against Enzo Couacaud – as many as Hurkacz managed across six matches in his 2021 run to the last four.

    The last player to record 50 or more aces in a grand slam match had also been Isner, against Steven Johnson at the 2020 US Open.

  • Wimbledon: Raducanu considers tough season 'all worth it' for win on Centre Court debut Wimbledon: Raducanu considers tough season 'all worth it' for win on Centre Court debut

    Emma Raducanu was able to set aside her tricky sophomore season and enjoy a winning Centre Court debut at Wimbledon on Monday.

    Raducanu is the reigning US Open champion but has struggled to recreate the success of her incredible Flushing Meadows run in 2021.

    Playing in the spotlight, the 19-year-old was 8-11 for the year heading to the All England Club, where she enjoyed a breakout campaign last year.

    Despite the support of a home British crowd, Raducanu might have hoped for a more straightforward opener, but she navigated a tough test against Alison Van Uytvanck to win 6-4 6-4.

    "It's an incredibly special feeling to be coming back here at Wimbledon," Raducanu said on court.

    "I could feel the support the minute I walked out of those doors and walking around the grounds.

    "I wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been here supporting, through the tough times as well – it's all worth it to play on Centre Court and especially to come through with a win."

    Raducanu, who had withdrawn from her previous appearance at the Nottingham Open earlier this month with a side injury, withstood early pressure as the first six games stayed on serve.

    However, a streak of 10 consecutive points and three straight games going against the serve altered the pattern of the match completely – ultimately in Raducanu's favour, as she broke first then responded to a break to love with one of her own.

    That was just enough to settle the opener, and Raducanu went in pursuit of a swift conclusion to the second, but Van Uytvanck instead made the breakthrough.

    This time, however, it was Raducanu's turn to respond immediately, and she came on strong to win the match on Van Uytvanck's serve and jump for joy.

    "I'm just so happy to stay another day," she added, with Caroline Garcia up next.

  • Wimbledon: 'Now we're at 80, let's get to 100' – Djokovic makes history with latest victory Wimbledon: 'Now we're at 80, let's get to 100' – Djokovic makes history with latest victory

    Novak Djokovic became the first male player in the Open Era to win at least 80 matches in all four grand slams with victory over Kwon Soon-woo in the first round of Wimbledon.

    The world number three, who is seeking a seventh crown at SW19 to take him level with Pete Sampras and behind only Roger Federer (8), advanced 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4 on Monday.

    That was Djokovic's 80th win at the All England Club in what was his 90th match, adding to his 85 wins at the French Open, 82 at the Australian Open and 81 at the US Open.

    He has won 22 matches in a row at Wimbledon since retiring in his quarter-final with Tomas Berdych in the 2017 quarter-finals, and is 17-0 in first-round matches in the event.

    With 328 grand slam wins to his name, Djokovic is second only to Federer (369) in that regard, with fellow heavyweight Rafael Nadal – in action on Tuesday – boasting 305 wins.

    "I am as dedicated as anyone out there," Djokovic, playing his first match on grass this year, said in his interview on Centre Court. "Now that we're at 80, let's get to 100.

    "I'm not one of the youngsters any more, but the love for this sport still burns in me and I try to play my best tennis at the grand slams and deliver my best at the best courts. 

    "I've said this before but this court is truly special. For me it has always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning and all my childhood dreams came true here.

    "It's an honour and pleasure to be back on Centre Court. This sport has given me everything. I owe a lot to the sport and I love it still with all my heart."

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.