New York, Sep 11 (EFE).- Briton Emma Raducanu defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 here Saturday in their US Open women’s singles final to become the first qualifier in men’s or women’s tennis to win a grand slam tournament.
At 18, Raducanu is the youngest player to lift a grand slam trophy since then-17-year-old Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004 and she achieved that feat without dropping a set.
But the first US Open women’s final in 22 years to feature two teenagers – Serena Williams triumphed over Martina Hingis in 1999 – was guaranteed to make history regardless of the outcome.
And there can’t have been many who expected the women’s championship to come down to a duel between players ranked 73rd (Fernandez) and 150th (Raducanu) in the world.
Fernandez, who celebrated her 19th birthday last Monday, stunned world No. 2 and four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the third round and three-time major champion Angelique Kerber on her path to the final.
Though Raducanu prevailed in straight sets, the contest was very competitive and the crowd at center court in Arthur Ashe Stadium was largely behind the Canadian.
The Toronto-born Brit hit 22 winners to 18 for Fernandez, but Raducanu broke her opponent’s serve on four of 18 opportunities, while she was only broken twice.
One of those breaks came with Fernandez trailing 5-2 in the second set and momentum was building for the Canadian when Raducanu requested a medical break after blood began trickling down her leg after a scrap against the surface.
Fernandez could be seen talking animatedly to the umpire, apparently to complain about the extended interruption, albeit to no avail, and Raducanu went on to seal the victory soon after play resumed.
Virginia Wade, whose victory at Wimbledon in 1977 was the last major tournament win by a British woman prior to Saturday, had a front-row seat for the final.
“I thought the level was extremely high and I hope we play each other in many more tournaments – hopefully in finals,” Raducanu said during the trophy ceremony. EFE