Emma Raducanu’s remarkable run to US Open glory

The 18-year-old had already secured her place in the record books after becoming the first qualifier to ever reach a grand slam final

Eleanor Crooks
Saturday 11 September 2021 23:39
Emma Raducanu completed a fairy tale win (Elise Amendola/AP)
Emma Raducanu completed a fairy tale win (Elise Amendola/AP)

Emma Raducanu has made history by winning the US Open women’s singles title, beating Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final.

The 18-year-old had already secured her place in the record books after becoming the first qualifier to ever reach a grand slam final.

Here, we take a look at Raducanu’s New York fairy tale.

Qualifying round one – beat Bibiane Schoofs 6-1 6-2

Raducanu came into qualifying with expectations sky high after her Wimbledon run and subsequent good form in the US and she eased past Dutchwoman Schoofs in her first match.

Qualifying round two – beat Mariam Bolkvadze 6-3 7-5

The hardest match Raducanu has had so far came against 167th-ranked Georgian Bolkvadze. In hot and humid conditions, the British player trailed by a break in the second set but recovered impressively.

Qualifying round three – beat Mayar Sherif 6-1 6-4

An impressive result for Raducanu against Egyptian Sherif, the fourth seed in qualifying and a player having a fine season. Raducanu dominated the first set and booked her spot in the main draw with an ace.

Round one – beat Stefanie Voegele 6-2 6-3

Raducanu had a stroke of luck when her intended opponent, last year’s semi-finalist Jennifer Brady pulled out through injury and she made short work of lucky loser Voegele.

Round two – beat Zhang Shuai 6-2 6-4

Emma Raducanu has stormed through the draw in New York (Seth Wenig/AP)

Raducanu had lost heavily to Zhang a few weeks ago but showed the pace of her improvement with another confident win, holding off a fightback from her Chinese opponent having led 4-0 in the second set.

Round three – beat Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1

An extraordinary performance from Raducanu against an in-form player ranked 41. The teenager won the first 11 games with a combination of first-strike brilliance and strong defence.

Round four – beat Shelby Rogers 6-2 6-1

Rogers had defeated top seed Ashleigh Barty in round three and made far too many errors but Raducanu handled her debut at Arthur Ashe Stadium with aplomb, overcoming a nervy start with another run of 11 games.

Quarter-finals – beat Belinda Bencic 6-3 6-4

Bencic had won 13 of her 14 previous matches and after breaking Raducanu’s serve in the opening game went 2-0 up, but the Brit soon found her range and never looked back as the accuracy of her heavy groundstrokes overwhelmed the world number 12.

Semi-finals – beat Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-4

Greek 17th seed Sakkari is a fierce competitor and an experienced campaigner, but Raducanu raced away with the first set and nervelessly finished her off in the second to reach the final.

Final – beat Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3

After edging out a close first set 6-4, Raducanu found herself an early break down in the second but she then won four straight games to turn the tide back in her favour. But Fernandez was not finished, saving two match points to force Raducanu to try to serve it out. To add to the tension, the British player was forced to take an injury timeout after grazing her leg sliding to the ball. Raducanu saved a break point, and another, before bringing up her third match point. And this time she took it – with an ace, sealing a phenomenal 6-4 6-3 victory.

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