British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu and 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez became the youngest pair to reach the final of the US Open in 22 years after their semifinal wins over Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka, respectively.
Raducanu’s victory over Greek 17th seed Sakkari made her the first qualifier to ever reach the final of the US Open. The teenager dispatched Sakkari in straight sets 6-1 6-4 with a composed showing in front of an impressed New York crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Raducanu secured her US Open final match against fellow teenager Fernandez thanks with a nerveless display that saw her fly to a 3-0 lead early on, leaving her opponent utterly bewildered as she won in straight sets to reach her first-ever Grand Slam final aged only 18. Her run to the final has assured her of reaching the top of the British ranking. Raducanu was ranked 336th in the world before her run to the last 16 at Wimbledon earlier this year saw her come into the US Open ranked 150th. She is assured of a place in the top 32 of women’s tennis after reaching the final.
Canada’s Fernandez only turned 19 on September 6th and was responsible for the exits of Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina in earlier rounds of the tournament. The teenager is ranked 73rd in the world and she claimed another huge scalp by defeating number two seed Aryna Sabalenka in three sets in a tough match at Flushing Meadows.
Fernandez started the match at her battling best as she claimed the first set against her experienced opponent 7-6. Sabalenka raised her game in the second set to claim a 6-4 win before Fernandez proved that her loss in the second set was just a blip by winning the third set 6-4 to book her passage into the US Open final against fellow teenager Raducanu.
The pair go way back as they have previously met each other as U-12 players during the Orange Bowl tournament. Raducanu won their previous match at the Wimbledon Juniors in 2018 in straight sets. Raducanu and Fernandez are the first pair of teenagers to face each other in the final of the US Open since 1999, when Serena Williams and Martina Hingis faced each other.
Astonishingly, Raducanu has not dropped a single set in her matches at the US Open this year. The teenager only passed her A-levels earlier this summer, and is the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade in 1977. She is also the first British woman to reach the final of the US Open since Wade 53 years ago and the youngest British woman to reach a grand slam final in 62 years.
While Raducanu attributes her success in the US Open to her age and the freedom that comes with it, Fernandez attributes it to the support of the New York crowd. Both women are looking forward to their final match, and Raducanu has reiterated that she feels no pressure ahead of the match on Saturday.