(September 11, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Ranked at No. 150 in the world, Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a major title in the Open Era by capturing the US Open by defeating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 for not only her first major title but first main -level tour title.
She went through both the qualifying and the main draw without dropping a set in just her second major. The last woman to win the title without losing a set was Serena Williams in 2014.
The British 18-year-old from Britain became the youngest major champion since 2004 when 17-year-old Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.
She’s the first European woman to win the US Open since Angelique Kerber did it in 2016.
The last British woman to win a major attended the final, Virginia Wade. Wade won Wimbledon in 1977. Former British player tim Henman was also on had to watch Raducanu’s victory.
“It means so much to have Virginia here and also Tim [Henman],” Raducanu said. “To have these British legends and icons for me to follow in their footsteps really helps, and it gave me the belief to actually do it.”
“I think this final shows that the future of women’s tennis and just the depth of the game right now is so great,” Raducanu said during the trophy presentation.. “I think every single player in the women’s draw definitely has a shot to win any tournament. I hope that the next generation can follow in the steps of the greatest legends.
The 19-year-old Fernandez came into the final having played three straight three-set matches, knocked out three top-five players en route to the final – No. 3 Naomi Osaka, No. 5 Elina Svitolina and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka.
“It was definitely a very tough match for the both of us,” Fernandez said during her news conference. “I unfortunately made one too many mistakes in key moments and she took advantage of it. Emma played a great tournament, so congratulations to her and her team.
“But hopefully I’ll be back next year.”
“I am still disappointed. I think this loss, I’m going to carry it for a very long time. I think it will motivate me to do better in training, better for the next opportunity I get.
“But, no, I’m very happy with myself, with the way I competed, and the play I played, the way I acted on court the past two weeks. I’ve improved a lot not only tennis-wise but emotionally and mentally.”
“I thought from the very beginning I knew it was going to be an extremely difficult match because Leylah, she’s played some unbelievable tennis, taking out a lot of the top 10 this week,” Raducanu said during her media conference. “I knew that I’d really have to bring my game.
“I was just trying to focus as much as possible on one point at a time. There were some really great battles. I really had to dig deep to face quite a bit of adversity in both sets.
“I’m just proud of how I managed to stick in and come through in the end.”
“I’ve always dreamed of winning a Grand Slam. You just say these things. You say, I want to win a Grand Slam. But to have the belief I did, and actually executing, winning a Grand Slam, I can’t believe it.
“I first started when I was a little girl, but I think the biggest thing that you have visions of is, for me it was just winning, the winning moment, and going to celebrate with your team in the box, trying to find your way up to the box, just seeing them after the match. That’s been playing in my head, like, a couple nights.”
“I think that in the UK, Great Britain, Virginia Wade, she achieved such great results. She’s an absolute legend. She was watching my match. I was super honored.
“For me I don’t feel absolutely any pressure. I’m still only 18 years old. I’m just having a free swing as anything that comes my way. That’s how I faced every match here in the States. Yeah, it got me this trophy, so I don’t think I should change anything.”
With Raducanu’s victory she will move up in the rankings from 150 to 23. Fernandez rises to No. 28 from 73.