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Emma Raducanu won the US Open in women’s singles, beating Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, in a match of extraordinary intensity. After qualifying to win, an unprecedented feat, the 18-year-old Briton hasn’t lost a set throughout the tournament.

Raducanu served first, holding on to 30. In a second marathon match, Fernandez came back 0-40 to two, saved two more break points, missed opportunities to keep serve and was ultimately broken. But Raducanu double faulted in a close third game and couldn’t consolidate his advantage. The first three games lasted 23 minutes.

This paved the way for a first series of high quality. He remained on serve until Game 10, although both players had openings. Raducanu, at 5-4, had two set points at 15-40 on Fernandez’s serve, and two more after Fernandez, 19, hit back at two. Finally, on the fifth opportunity, the Briton won the set 6-4.

Emma Raducanu makes tennis history with her final victory at the US Open |  US Open tennis 2021
Emma Raducanu serves as Leylah Fernandez. Photograph: Frank Franklin II / AP

Raducanu held the serve early in the second set and then ran 0-40. But Fernandez won five points in a row and eight of nine to create his own break points. Raducanu resisted these and scored a game point for 2-1, but faltered and was shattered.

The 18-year-old responded immediately, however, rising to 30 and then holding her own serve to lead 3-2. She then moved quickly to 15-40 on Fernandez’s serve and a powerful forehand pass took the second of the break points for a 4-2 lead.

Raducanu held the serve to lead 5-2. She had a league point at 30-40 in the next game and another to advantage, but Fernandez turned it down, forcing the Briton to serve for the game at 5-3.

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Fernandez took the first point of the next game and at 15-30 was too strong when Raducanu entered the net. She took control of the next point for a chance to break and Raducanu needed treatment for a cut just below her left knee, sustained the slip for the ball. Fernandez was frustrated with the medical time out at a key point. When play resumed it stayed long, but Raducanu then followed suit after Fernandez found a lob which forced the Briton to back down.

Raducanu responded with a clever overload to get back to two, then set up another championship point, the first on his own serve. She succeeded, becoming the first British woman to win a grand slam since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.

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