Emma Raducanu completed her New York fairy tale and one of the most amazing feats in sport by defeating Leylah Fernandez and winning the US Open.
The 18-year-old from Kent only played her second Grand Slam tournament and won all 20 sets that she played in the qualifying and peloton in 1977.
Raducanu graduated from her A-Level a little over three months ago after not playing a competitive game in over a year, but she has taken the big stage like no other before her.
Fernandez is only two months older after taking their 19.3 win in an hour and 51 minutes earlier this week.
Your performance is unparalleled. No qualifier had ever reached a slam final before, despite being the first woman to win a title in just two tournaments and the youngest since Maria Sharapova’s triumph at Wimbledon in 2004.
While Raducanu’s breakthrough at Wimbledon indicated that she could potentially be a Grand Slam winner in the future, no one, least of all the teenage girl herself, had expected it to come anytime soon.
The evening began with a ceremony to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago – before the two finalists were even born.
The reception the young women received as they left Arthur Ashe suggested that Fernandez, who lives in Florida, would get the most support as her giant killing run had won the hearts of the New York crowd.
Raducanu hadn’t been worried enough to really benefit from the crowd. Her closest set came in the second qualifying round when she was just another lower-ranking hope trying to reach the peloton.
She was already the first player to ever play 10 individual matches in a slam, and she quickly dismissed the suggestion that she might be under pressure to get to the final.
It certainly didn’t look like when she swung freely through the first game and held it with such a proper cross-court backhand that Fernandez didn’t move.
This was a completely different scenario for the Canadian, who had been the big underdog in her last four games but found herself here as a higher-ranking and more experienced player.
This quickly turned into an overpowering fight, Raducanu broke down on her sixth chance to make it 2-0, only for Fernandez she used her fourth chance to hit back directly.
It was a showcase of all the skills, mental resilience and athleticism with which the two women had conquered everything before them.
Fernandez had shaken off her early nerves and the game was everything expected on such an exciting evening for the future of women’s football.
Every rally was fiercely competitive, none of the women avoided the opportunity to strike the first blow, but they read each other in a way that none of the previous opponents had done.
The return of Raducanu was probably the hit of the tournament and two Sizzlers brought two target values in the 10th game.
Fernandez saved both and a third who followed, but on the fourth Raducanu dug a forehand across the line before raising her arms and emitting a huge “come on”.
Raducanu was more emotional than her opponent in the fortnight, but this was the greatest pressure she had ever been under, and she knew what a big moment that was in the game.
Fernandez knew that too, and Raducanu had three chances to make it 2-0 in the second game, but the Canadian dug in brilliantly to hold and then took the lead with a break in another long game.
But Raducanu came back with an even better return, and a run of four games in a row brought them to the brink of victory.
She held two match points at 5-2, but Fernandez wasn’t finished saving both and then forced a breakpoint when Raducanu tried to serve it.
To add to the tension, the British player had to take an injury break after slipping off the leg that slipped towards the ball, much to Fernandez’s annoyance.
Raducanu saved the breakpoint and another before scoring her third match point. And this time she took it – with an ace.
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