British young sensation Emma Raducanu scripted history by becoming the first-ever qualifier to reach the women’s singles final at a Grand Slam. The 17-year-old defeated 17th seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-4 to reach the US Open final. She also became the youngest player to reach a Grand Slam final. Earlier, Maria Sharapova claimed the Wimbledon title at the age of 17 in 2004. The 150th ranked Raducanu will now face Leylah Fernandez, another upcoming tennis star aged 19, of Canada in the women’s singles US Open final.
This will be the first instance in over two decades that two teens will battle out for a Grand Slam. At the 1999 US Open, 17-year-old Serena Williams took on 18-year-old Martina Hingis.
“Honestly I think I played some of my best tennis today, especially here in New York,” Raducanu said. “Yeah, I knew I was going to have to be super aggressive. I managed to execute. So, yeah, I’m just really happy with today’s performance,” Raducanu said after the emphatic victory.
Emma was asked to comment on her juggernaut in the tournament to which she said she did not expect such favourable results at such an early stage of her career. However, Brit admitted that she had the belief of coming good against some of the best in business and maintain her level for a long period of time.
“Honestly I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above, the 18-year-old said. But, yeah, it means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted obviously to, like, be playing Grand Slams, but I didn’t know how soon that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this stage of my career, yeah, I have no words.
“I personally think inside I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn’t know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets. To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can’t believe it,” she added.
Talking about his final clash with Leylah Fernandez, Emma said she is expecting a tough fight from the 19-year old. The two players have clashed before at the under-12 tournament and in the junior Wimbledon. However, Emma believes that the upcoming battle will be extremely different as they both have come a long way since their last meeting.
“But, yeah to play Leylah on Saturday, it will be a tough match for sure. She’s playing great tennis. But I think I’m also playing very good tennis. Yeah, I’m excited to go out there. I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere for both of us,” Raducanu added.