GB’s Raducanu storms to US Open title

December 6, 2021
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    US Open 2021
    Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
    Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

    Emma Raducanu ended Britain's 44-year wait for a women's Grand Slam singles champion as she beat Leylah Fernandez to win the US Open in the most thrilling style.

    The 18-year-old ended her scarcely believable run in New York with a 6-4 6-3 win over her 19-year-old Canadian opponent in a high-quality final.

    Raducanu threw herself to the floor in disbelief as she fired down an ace to conclude what has been the most remarkable journey.

    Raducanu served for the match at 5-3 but cut her leg as she went break point down, leading to a medical time-out and a clearly irritated Fernandez expressing her frustration to the match official.

    However, Raducanu shrugged off the delay, saving a further break point before closing out her third championship point.

    The two shared a warm hug before Raducanu headed up the stairs at Arthur Ashe Stadium to celebrate with her support box.

    Raducanu was cheered on by an emotional Virginia Wade, who was the last British woman to win a major trophy at Wimbledon in 1977.

    raducanuEmma Raducanu is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam and has done so without dropping a set

    "It means so much to have Virginia Wade here and also Tim Henman," Raducanu said in her on-court speech.

    "They are British icons and for me to follow in their footsteps gave me the belief I could do it."

    With the victory, Raducanu becomes:

    • The first British female winner at the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968
    • The first qualifier in the Open era to win a Slam
    • The youngest women's Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004
    • The youngest Briton to win a Grand Slam title
    • The first woman to win the US Open without dropping a set since Serena Williams in 2014

    She will take home £1.8m in prize money, rise to 23 in the world rankings and will become the British number one on Monday.

    Raducanu will also know that she has starred in one of the biggest moments in British sporting history – and captured the imagination of the fans at home and in New York.

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    The rise & rise of Raducanu

    Astonishing. Ridiculous. Meteoric. Unbelievable. Take your pick – but no word can ever really sum up what Raducanu has achieved.

    Two weeks ago, Raducanu had a flight booked back to the UK, just in case she did not come through qualifying in New York. Seventeen days later, she has lifted the trophy in front of a rapturous crowd.

    Raducanu did not just come through qualifying: she dominated the tournament. The most games she lost in one set in her entire run in New York – five – came in the second round of qualifying.

    It is not just that Raducanu has kept on winning, but she has done it with such dominance. She did not drop a set en route to the final, despite meeting Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and in-form Maria Sakkari on the way.

    In the big moments, she has held her nerve, trusting in her power and serve, even when she saw two championship points go by in the final.

    This is someone who, two months ago, was collecting her A-Level results. She only made her WTA main-draw debut in June. All this has happened so quickly, and yet not once has Raducanu not looked like she belongs.

    With all the attention on Raducanu after Wimbledon – as well as questions from some about her mental toughness – she could have easily been overwhelmed.

    Instead, she trusted in herself, hired a new coach in Andrew Richardson and went to America to play in the various events.

    No-one could have seen this coming; not the ease with which Raducanu would brush her opponents aside, or the calmness with which she would approach every match.

    But Raducanu always believed. And she will leave New York as the US Open champion.

    A tweet from Emma Raducanu asking if A Level exams would be happening in 2021Emma Raducanu received an A* and A in maths and economics in her A-Levels – and then won the US Open two months later

    'An almost perfect performance' – analysis

    Former British number one Laura Robson on BBC Radio 5 Live: "There are so many sliding doors moments. Before Wimbledon, Emma didn't have a main draw wild card. Would she be in this position if they hadn't upgraded it? Would this happen if she hadn't had to retire from the fourth round with breathing problems?

    "She played an almost perfect performance in her first Grand Slam final. You have to think there will be so many more."

    Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash: "I cannot believe it. It is unheard of for a qualifier to win the US Open. Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon as a wildcard but he had already been to Wimbledon finals, not playing a second Grand Slam.

    "She hits so cleanly. I cannot come up with a reason for this to happen. It does not make sense at all. Her performance is mindboggling."

    BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller: "I have never seen anything like this and I suspect if I work in this business for another 20 years I won't see anything like it."

    View more on twitter

    Nerves? What nerves?

    A full Arthur Ashe Stadium – which holds almost 24,000 people – is one of the most intimidating sights in tennis, but neither player looked fazed as they walked out on to the biggest stage of their career.

    Fernandez had more of the crowd support, given that she has ousted the second, third and fifth seed in New York, but there was still good support for Raducanu.

    The first three games lasted for 23 minutes, both players showing a devastating array of cross-court punches and fiery returns of serve, and they traded breaks as they found their footing.

    As she has done throughout the tournament, Raducanu dug herself out from 0-30 down several times, stepping forward, playing more aggressively and finding her first serves.

    That gave her the confidence to attack Fernandez's second serve and put herself on top. She closed out the first set with a forehand down the line, turning and pumping her fist towards her box before letting out a yell of "come on!" to the crowd as they rose to applaud.

    Fernandez has shown tenacity throughout the tournament and she did so here, saving three break points in her first service game to stop Raducanu taking a 2-0 lead in the second.

    She then found the break, adjusting to hit Raducanu's serves better, and it looked as though the momentum had swung the way of the young Canadian.

    However, there is a reason Raducanu has not dropped a set in New York. At the changeover she sat quietly, eyes closed, before again increasing her tempo and creating the break opportunity.

    She broke with the shot of the match – a stunning forehand pass, made from almost off the court, that left Fernandez stranded at the net.

    Two championship points came and went on the Fernandez serve, saved once again by brave hitting, but Raducanu did not falter despite taking a nasty cut to the leg as she slid behind the baseline.

    It was an odd interlude in what was an entertaining final that proved that the future of women's tennis is bright.

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    6718 commentsShowLatestOldestHighest RatedMost Replied

    • M

      Comment posted by mdoc01, at 23:18 11 Sep

      Excellent performance and thank you Channel 4 for putting it on terrestrial tv!!210322

      • L

        Reply posted by Luvlee Gal, at 23:25 11 Sep

        "Excellent performance and thank you Channel 4 for putting it on terrestrial tv!!"Luvlee Gal replied: Congrats to two superstar young ladies!68022

      More replies (129)

    • H

      Comment posted by Hindsight if only, at 23:21 11 Sep

      Sports personality of the year voting closed Emma just walked it, brilliant performance.171260

      • O

        Reply posted by on vacation, at 23:22 11 Sep

        "Sports personality of the year voting closed Emma just walked it, brilliant performance."on vacation replied: absolutely lol26124

      More replies (170)

    • A

      Comment posted by ajax, at 23:20 11 Sep

      Well done Emma!! You’ve done your country proud. You’re going to be going places in the world of tennis now. Oh, and thank you Channel 4 for showing the match live. (BBC take note – this is what we want our licence fee money spent on)155068

      • Removed comment

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    • P

      Comment posted by Pa, at 23:21 11 Sep

      From qualifiers to US open champion at 18 and without dropping a set!
      That is an incredible achievement!
      Way to go Emma!105121

      • Removed comment

      More replies (21)

    • C

      Comment posted by Cymraes27, at 23:18 11 Sep

      Thank you to Channel 4 for showing this! Hopefully this will go on to inspire girls across the country to pick up a racket!90427

      • L

        Reply posted by Luvlee Gal, at 23:24 11 Sep

        "Thank you to Channel 4 for showing this! Hopefully this will go on to inspire girls across the country to pick up a racket!"Luvlee Gal replied: Blood, sweat, toil, and tears of ecstasy! Wow!! Wow!!25612

      More replies (31)

    • O

      Comment posted by on vacation, at 23:19 11 Sep

      Never thought I’d have tears in my eyes, but I do
      Absolutely unbelievable. So wonderful for Emma Raducanu and British tennis. And how good was Fernandez? What an incredible game

      I’m now going to have a good laugh at the trolls on here saying she’s not British and even funnier that she is Canadian. Remember…they are just button pushers. Enjoy people :)91071

      • R

        Reply posted by Rewstep, at 23:21 11 Sep

        "Never thought I’d have tears in my eyes, but I doAbsolutely unbelievable. So wonderful for Emma Raducanu and British tennis. And how good was Fernandez? What an incredible gameI’m now going to have a good laugh at the trolls on here saying she’s not British and even funnier that she is Canadian. Remember…they are just button pushers. Enjoy people :)"Rewstep replied: You are the first to mention it, though152315

      More replies (66)

    • J

      Comment posted by jude nelson, at 23:36 11 Sep

      For the emboldened racists trying to troll, she’s more British than our current pm and people actually like her. So give it a rest, leave this to the adults and we will remark at one of the best finals ever83783

      • Removed comment

      More replies (51)

    • W

      Comment posted by Welsh Rare Bit, at 23:39 11 Sep

      A qualifier winning would be a story in itself. An 18yr old in just their 2nd major tournament winning would be a story in itself. A player winning without dropping a set would be a story in itself. A British woman winning a major tournament would be a story in itself. For all four stories to collide simultaneously is just insane!!!6637

      • D

        Reply posted by Dod Kennedy, at 00:13 12 Sep

        "A qualifier winning would be a story in itself. An 18yr old in just their 2nd major tournament winning would be a story in itself. A player winning without dropping a set would be a story in itself. A British woman winning a major tournament would be a story in itself. For all four stories to collide simultaneously is just insane!!!"Dod Kennedy replied: A 9/11 that you want to remember. Incredible fairytale.14830

      More replies (12)

    • M

      Comment posted by Mido12, at 23:26 11 Sep

      Emma Raducano and Great Britain 1, Racists 0825184

      • R

        Reply posted by rugby is my game, at 23:28 11 Sep

        "Emma Raducano and Great Britain 1, Racists 0"rugby is my game replied: 👍11728

      More replies (61)

    • B

      Comment posted by Bigrock, at 23:24 11 Sep

      As we say in Yorkshire: “That’ll do.”57034

      • J

        Reply posted by jono, at 23:39 11 Sep

        "As we say in Yorkshire: “That’ll do.”"jono replied: That’ll more than do 😂😂😂27610

      More replies (15)

    • T

      Comment posted by Telefunken U47, at 23:18 11 Sep

      That’s sports personality of the year sorted48241

      • Removed comment

      More replies (47)

    • S

      Comment posted by Sveti Ars, at 23:48 11 Sep

      My cat is older than Emma Raducanu.4219

      • O

        Reply posted by on vacation, at 23:51 11 Sep

        "My cat is older than Emma Raducanu."on vacation replied: winner of the most amusing random post1928

      More replies (23)

    • J

      Comment posted by Jime, at 23:23 11 Sep

      👏Congratulations Emma, superb performance. A remarkable achievement for someone so young not dropping a single set36110

      • U

        Reply posted by ubercurmudgeon, at 23:40 11 Sep

        "👏Congratulations Emma, superb performance. A remarkable achievement for someone so young not dropping a single set"ubercurmudgeon replied: A proud performance in a US court from a great envoy for Britain who was confident of getting the result they deserved. She won with such grace that it seemed as if she almost didn’t have to sweat at all. Surely she should be in the line of succession to the SPOTY throne.1707

      More replies (25)

    • L

      Comment posted by Lasagne295, at 23:18 11 Sep

      First women’s final I have watched …. Might be watching more … two great players simply having a go !!! Excellent stuff !!36112

      • S

        Reply posted by saintclark, at 23:36 11 Sep

        "First women’s final I have watched …. Might be watching more … two great players simply having a go !!! Excellent stuff !!"saintclark replied: I think it’s time they up the womens games to best of 5. I reckon they can handle it now, and if the prize money is going to be the same it’s only fair.35482

      More replies (44)

    • S

      Comment posted by shed upper yaface, at 23:22 11 Sep

      That was a brilliant match from both players
      Absolutely fantastic Emma 👏 👏3048

      • L

        Reply posted by Luvlee Gal, at 23:28 11 Sep

        "That was a brilliant match from both players Absolutely fantastic Emma 👏 👏"Luvlee Gal replied: Unbelievable composure. Winning the entire event in straight sets2216

      More replies (12)

    • J

      Comment posted by jude nelson, at 23:24 11 Sep

      No bandwagon jumping jingoistic nonsense…that was phenomenal. Not just the final but the whole tournament. Just destroyed it. That is a player who is looking at top 10.30211

      • U

        Reply posted by ummagumma, at 23:51 11 Sep

        "No bandwagon jumping jingoistic nonsense…that was phenomenal. Not just the final but the whole tournament. Just destroyed it. That is a player who is looking at top 10."ummagumma replied: No 1 surely1125

      More replies (15)

    • L

      Comment posted by lancyblue, at 23:22 11 Sep

      Not usually given to patriotism, but well done girl, fantastic, life changing achievement. 👏☺️🥰22416

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      More replies (28)

    • A

      Comment posted by Allio, at 23:30 11 Sep

      I hope Leylah is not too irritated because Emma called a medical time out. She didn’t look too happy about it but her leg ineeded to be seen to.21715

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      More replies (41)

    • W

      Comment posted by Wee Brian, at 23:19 11 Sep

      Unbelievable, phenomenal, sensational. Incredible Emma!20411

      • L

        Reply posted by Luvlee Gal, at 23:24 11 Sep

        "Unbelievable, phenomenal, sensational. Incredible Emma!"Luvlee Gal replied: Superstar Emma!!957

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    • J

      Comment posted by JonH, at 23:38 11 Sep

      No egos
      No gamesmanship
      No ‘one eye on the money’
      No tantrums
      No bad losers
      Great tennis, loads of effort and entertainment. Congratulations to both players. The best US women’s final in 10 years.1586

      • S

        Reply posted by StoneyIsle , at 01:20 12 Sep

        "No egosNo gamesmanship No ‘one eye on the money’No tantrums No bad losersGreat tennis, loads of effort and entertainment. Congratulations to both players. The best US women’s final in 10 years."StoneyIsle replied: No enormous grunting screams either.1394

      More replies (4)

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