Emma Raducanu, 18, won the first US Open final between two unseeded players by defeating Leylah Fernandez, 19, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to win her first Grand Slam title.
In addition to becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam, Raducanu accomplished this feat in only her second Grand Slam competition.
Since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977, Raducanu’s victory made her the first British woman to win a Grand Slam.
In 1968, Wade became the final British woman to win the US Open. Since Serena Williams was defeated by Maria Sharapova in the 2004 Wimbledon final, Raducanu is also the youngest female tennis player to win a major.
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Raducanu Made Her Women Tennis Association (WTA)
At the 2021 Nottingham Open in June, Raducanu made her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) main draw debut after being accepted as a wild card into the competition. She again played as a wild card when she made her main draw Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon later that month.
The youngest British woman to make it to the round of 16 in the Open Era was Raducanu, who advanced all the way to Wimbledon’s fourth round. She had never faced a top-40 opponent prior to competing in New York, and the 2021 US Open marked just her second Grand Slam of her career. Raducanu will move up one spot in the WTA rankings on Monday, to No. 23, from 150.
In her post-match interview, Raducanu said, “Thank you to everyone here in New York.” “From my first qualifying match all the way through the championship game, you all made me feel so at home. I enjoyed performing for you, and you gave me great encouragement during some particularly trying times.”
Raducanu is the First Woman to Win the US Open Without Dropping a Set
If becoming a qualifier for a Grand Slam tournament wasn’t impressive enough, Raducanu did it with ease, winning without losing a set. Since Serena Williams in 2014, Raducanu is the first woman to win the US Open without dropping a set.
In this tournament, Raducanu played 14 sets, winning every single one of them. She won 20 consecutive sets, if you count the three qualifying matches she won in six sets.
Raducanu Won in Straight Sets
The quality of the match is frequently not determined by the final score in tennis. Even though Raducanu won in straight sets, Fernandez put on an amazing tennis performance—especially for a 19-year-old making his debut in New York on the big stage. The match between the two young players mirrored each of their US Open competitions, with Raducanu hanging on to control of the match while Fernandez fought from behind while being able to adjust accordingly in real-time.
Fernandez said in her post-game interview that she was “very proud of myself” for the way she had been playing the previous two weeks. “The New York crowd, in particular, has been incredible. Thank you so much, New York, for being there to support me. I’m grateful.”
Raducanu the 2021 US Open Trophy
The New York crowd was drawn to cheering for Fernandez throughout her matches because she entered so many of them as the underdog, and she quickly turned into a fan favourite. Her tenacity and drive impressed viewers as she upset three top-5 players in nail-biting three-setter matches en route to the final.
The adolescent developed a celebratory gesture of raising her fist in the air after scoring a point, which energised the New York audience even more. Even at the final on Saturday, there were supporters wearing “Leylah” and Canadian-themed attire and signage at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In a symbolic handoff between earlier and later generations of women’s tennis, 12-time Grand Slam champion and ardent proponent of gender equality Billie Jean King gave Raducanu the 2021 US Open trophy.
According to Raducanu, it “shows that the future of women’s tennis and that the depth of the game at this time is so great.” “I believe that every woman in the women’s draw has a chance to win any tournament. I therefore hope that the following generation can emulate some of the greatest legends, like Billie Jean [King] right here.”
Raducanu at the US Open
The depth of women’s tennis at the moment has once again been highlighted by another women’s singles Grand Slam competition. Each of the four major tournaments in 2021 had a different champion: Ash Barty at Wimbledon, Barbora Krejková at the French Open, Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, and now Raducanu at the US Open. Because there are so many talented players on tour who are more driven than ever to win their first Grand Slam title, the future of women’s tennis is promising and it appears to remain competitive.
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Toward the Final
Ana Konjuh was defeated by Fernandez in rounds one and two, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2. 7-5, 7-5 R3: No. 3 defence No. 16 defeated by Naomi Osaka, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 R4. No. 5 defeated by Angelique Kerber, 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-2 QF Svitolina, Elina, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
SF: No. 2 defence Aryna Sabalenka, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
Raducanu defeated Stefanie Vögele 6-2, 6-3; Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-4; Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1; Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1; No. 11 defeated Raducanu in the quarterfinals. No. 17 defeated by Belinda Bencic, 6-3, 6-4 SF 6-1, 6-4 Maria Sakkari
With all of the live highlights, updates, and more from this game in the feed below, CBS Sports had you covered. Below, relive the championship game.