Emma Raducanu becomes first British woman in 44 years to win Grand Slam title

NEW YORK – Emma Raducanu won the 2021 US Open women’s title and becomes the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade in 1977.

The 18-year-old Briton knocked out Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in straight sets 6-4 6-3 in one hour and 51 minutes.

Raducanu’s victory is historic. She is the first qualified – male or female – to win a Grand Slam title. She also becomes the youngest major female champion since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova won her crown at Wimbledon in 2004.

This is Raducanu’s second main draw appearance in a major tournament, which would set the Open era record for the fewest attempts required by a woman to win her first championship.

Raducanu said in an interview on the field: “Thank you all for making me feel so at home, you really looked down on me in really tough times. I hope Leylah and I had a good time. performance for you.

The score might seem like it was one-sided, but the game was anything but. In a hard-fought first set, Raducanu beat Fernandez early to take a 2-0 lead, but broke immediately after to tie the game 2-2.

The two powerful players played long base matches, pushing each other at breakpoints and tied several times in the first set. At 5-4 with Fernandez on serve, Raducanu established two set points and after an eight-minute game, won the first set 6-4.

Fernandez came out strong in the second set, beating Raducanu for the first time to take the lead, 2-1. But, Raducanu wasted no time, following him immediately by breaking Fernandez’s serve for a 3-2 lead.

Raducanu came out to serve for the championship, but Fernandez didn’t give up, coming back 40-30, before succumbing to his first deep serve.

“Match point, I don’t think I served that wide the whole game, to be honest,” Raducanu said at the post-match press conference. , this will be the moment. I literally pushed my legs up to this ball throw like never before.

“Yeah, I landed it. Just disbelief, trying to figure it all out, all the time.”

The game was not without controversy: When Fernandez led 40-30, 3-5 in the second set, Raducanu took a medical time out to heal a cut to his knee. The crowd, which largely supported the two teenagers, were pissed off, with some fans even starting to boo the break.

“I didn’t really want to stop because I thought it would disrupt my pace, seeing as I was going to serve 30-40, and have such a long break after a point.… But I couldn’t play. I wasn’t allowed. to do it because my knee was gushing with blood, ”Raducanu said.

“The chair umpire said I had to get him treated right away. I guess I just went and I was really trying to think about what my playing patterns were going to be, what I was going to try. Yeah, going out there facing a breakpoint after a two or three minute hiatus is not easy. I think I managed to really pull the clutch plays when I got it. needed it. “

After falling and cutting her knee, Raducanu said she was nervous about losing her match and said she prayed not to double the fault while serving for the championship.

Raducanu had the advantage throughout the game. She was patient and waited to choose her seats. She also rarely missed balls, causing Fernandez to run across the field whenever she could.

It could be the start of a long and exciting rivalry between Fernandez and Raducanu. “I hope we will face each other in many more tournaments and hopefully in the final,” said Raducanu.

Raducanu’s rise to the top of the US Open is meteoric. She started Wimbledon in June 2021, ranked world number one. 338. She reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon.

In New York, she played three qualifiers to reach the main draw. Then she ended up dominating the tournament, beating top players like Sara Sorribes Tormo, Maria Sakkari and Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic.

“When the grass courts started, I had just finished my exams – I had three weeks to train before my first tournament,” said Raducanu. “I just built every game, every win, I thought Wimbledon was such an amazing experience. Fourth round, second week, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, what a great achievement.

“I was still hungry. I was working hard after weed. I didn’t have a lot of free time. Then I came right back here to the States. Every game, tournament and week I think I have. really built in terms of confidence, in terms of the game, in terms of hitting the ball. It all came together today. Yeah, I think to pull off some of the shots that I made in the great times that I did. really needed it, it was just an accumulation of everything I ‘learned over the past five weeks. “

With this victory, she will end her miraculous two-month journey in the world rankings. 23

Through it all, Raducanu said she didn’t feel any pressure.

“I just have a free swing like anything that comes my way,” she said. “That’s how I played every game here in the United States. Yeah, it got me that trophy.”

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