Emma Raducanu: Qualifier to US Open champion

Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title as she captured the US Open on Saturday evening

Emma Raducanu became first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title

Emma Raducanu completed the greatest underdog triumph in tennis history on Saturday by becoming the first qualifier to capture a Grand Slam.

The 18-year-old defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in the US Open women’s singles final and take the $2.5 million (2.1 million euro) top prize.

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“I knew I would have to dig deep,” Raducanu said.

“It was an incredibly difficult match but I thought the level was really high. I had to play some of my best tennis.”

It was a stunning achievement for Raducanu, who did not drop a single set during the three qualifying matches and seven main draw contests.

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The last woman to win the title without dropping a set in New York? Serena Williams in 2014.

In the end, Fernandez looked weary. In fact, she had played four consecutive matches that went three sets.

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The cumulative weight of taking down three Top 5 players – No.2 Aryna Sabalenka, No.3 Naomi Osaka and No.5 Elina Svitolina had to have been a factor.

Her serve was not sharp; Raducanu forced 18 break points and converted four of them.

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Raducanu was serving for the match at 5-3 when she fell and bloodied her knee and a medical timeout was called to bandage the wound.

Ultimately, five minutes elapsed and Raducanu came back to convert her third match point.

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“I also want to say that I hope to be back here in the finals,” Fernandez said during the trophy ceremony, “and this time with the trophy – the right one.”

Records made by Raducanu:

  • The first qualifier in the history of the Open Era to win a major title.
  • The first woman to win a major title in her second Grand Slam event. By comparison, Chris Evert and Venus Williams both got to the final in their third major – but lost.
  • The youngest Grand Slam singles champion since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004.
  • The second lowest-ranked woman to win the US Open. Kim Clijsters was unranked when she claimed the New York major in 2009.
  • The first British woman in 44 years to win a Slam crown, since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon 1977. She is also the first British woman to win the US Open.
  • She is yet to win a WTA tour match