Emma Raducanu, the 18-year-old Briton, is the new US Open women’s queen. She became the first qualifier to achieve that feat by defeating 19-year-old Leyla Fernandez 6-4 6-3 to take home the trophy and the $2.5 million prize money. Not bad for a lady who just finished her A-levels in June.
She came through the qualifiers and all the way to the prize without dropping a set. Raducanu raced into a 2-0 lead in the first set but Fernandez fought back to tie it at 2-2. Both players kept serve until the ninth game when Raducanu held serve to take a 5-4 lead. She then needed four set points before closing out the first set in just under an hour.
Fernandez broke in the third game of the second set but Raducanu broke right back to make it 2-2. The Briton then broke Fernandez in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead. She took the seventh game but Fernandez broke in the eighth game. Fernandez led 40-30 in the ninth game but Raducanu took it to deuce. Fernandez then had an advantage but the champion went to deuce before finishing the match with an ace.
The fairy tale that began at Wimbledon finally came full circle after one hour and 51 minutes. Raducanu made 69 per cent of her first serves as compared to 58 per cent for Fernandez but the Briton’s forehand winners got the job done.
And she got a congratulatory message from no less than the Queen of England. “It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is a testament to your hard work and dedication.”
On the way to the final, she was asked about the secret to her success and she replied, “Being young, there is an element of you do play completely free. But I’m sure that when I’m older or have more experience, the same will happen to me. I think the tables will turn. Some younger players will come through.”
For now, she has come through and the tennis world is sitting up in admiration.