US Open: British teenager Emma Raducanu becomes first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title

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The 18-year-old Brit took out the Canadian teenager, Leylah Fernandez in straight sets 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 51 minutes.

Raducanu’s win is historic. She is the first qualifier — male or female — to ever win a Grand Slam title. She also becomes the youngest women’s major champion since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won her 2004 Wimbledon crown.

This is Raducanu’s second main draw appearance at a major, which would be the Open era record for the fewest attempts required by any woman to win her first championship.

The score might make it look one sided, but the match was anything but. In a hard-fought first set, Raducanu broke Fernandez early to take the lead 2-0, but got broken immediately after to even out the match 2-2.

Both the power players played long baseline games, pushing each other to break points and deuce several times in the first set. At 5-4 with Fernandez serving, Raducanu set up two set points, and after an eight-minute game, took the first set 6-4.

Fernandez came out strong in the second set, breaking Raducanu for the first time to take the lead in, 2-1. But, Raducanu wasted no time, immediately following it up by breaking Fernandez’s serve for a 3-2 lead.

Raducanu came out to serve for the championship, but Fernandez didn’t give up, going up 40-30, before succumbing to her deep first serve.

The match was not devoid of controversy: When Fernandez led 40-30 at 3-5 in the second set, Raducanu took a medical timeout to treat a cut on her knee. The crowd, which was largely supportive of both the teenagers, was riled up, some fans even starting to boo the break.

Raducanu had the edge throughout the match. She was patient and waited to pick her spots. She also rarely missed balls, running Fernandez around the court every chance she could get.

Raducanu’s rise to the top of the US Open is meteoric. She started Wimbledon in June 2021 ranked World No. 338. She reached the Round of 16 in Wimbledon.

In New York, she played three qualifiers to reach the main draw. Then, she ended up dominating the tournament, beating top players like Sara Sorribes Tormo, Maria Sakkari and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.

With this victory, she will finish her miraculous two-month run ranked World No. 23.

Source: ESPN