Some of its biggest names were missing the US Open 2021. There was neither Serena, nor Venus, nor Rafa, nor Roger. But that’s okay because there are Leylah and Emma.
On Saturday, the two teenagers – Leylah Fernandez, who just turned 19 and Emma Raducanu, 18 – will face off for the Grand Slam crown.
“I think one word that really stuck with me ‘magic’ because not only is my run really good, but also the way I’m playing right now,” said Canada’s Fernandez after beating world number 2. Aryna Sabalenka in three sets. in the semi-finals. “I’m just having fun, I’m trying to produce something for the audience. I’m glad whatever I do on the court the fans love it and I love it too. We ‘I’ll say that’ is magic. “
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Magic is certainly a good word for this, as the Laval, Que. Native has played fearless, high-profile tennis. She drew lines with whip forehands with her left hand, solid serve plays and a tenacity seen in players twice as old. Over the past two weeks, she sent out defending champion Naomi Osaka, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and second Sabalenka. That’s three top 5 seeds – two former No.1s – if you didn’t keep track.
Today, she is the oldest statesman, facing Raducanu, born in Toronto and raised in Britain. The first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final in the open era – yes, she had to win three games to make the main draw – hasn’t lost a single set since knocking out Flushing, Queens. Along the way, she beat Shelby Rogers (who knocked down No.1 Ash Barty), Belinda Bencic and Maria Sakkari in the final three rounds.
“Honestly, I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above,” Raducanu said after winning his semi-finals against Sakkari. “But, yeah, it means a lot to be here in this situation. I obviously wanted to, for example, play Grand Slam tournaments, but I didn’t know how long that would be. Being in the Grand Slam final at this point of my career, yes, I have no words. “
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The pair, who actually met in the 2018 women’s singles round of 16 at Wimbledon with Raducanu winning 6-2, 6-4, are now on the precipice of their first-ever Grand Slam title. A little shocking, these are the last two standing as Fernandez entered the US Open ranked 73rd in the WTA standings in singles while Raducanu came in 150th. It is the first meeting of two teenage girls in the final since Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis in New York in 1999.
Two years ago, Bianca Andreescu became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title. Barely two years later, another woman storms the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She will face a tough opponent in Raducanu. Sporting News gets all the action as the two teens battle it out for their first Grand Slam title in the 2021 US Open final.
MORE: Watch US Open Live with fuboTV (7 Day Trial)
Emma Raducanu beat. Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3
Match results, highlights from the 2021 US Open women’s final
Second set: Raducanu wins 6-3
The tennis these two women play is incredible. Fernandez gets a break point as she runs Raducanu all the way down the back line before the Briton can take the return shot. On the same play, when Raducanu chased the ball, she skidded and grazed her left knee on the pitch. With blood flowing down Raducanu’s knee, the trainer has to come out to bandage her and it’s a medical time out. Fernandez, unhappy with the time-out, argues lightly with an official as Raducanu’s knee is heavily bandaged.
On the first point back, Fernandez ends an exchange with a long forehand and the match passes to two. The next point Fernandez with an incredible stretch shot to hold the point eventually won the point after Raducanu sent a long shot. But Raducanu comes back to two with his own save shot.
Championship point No.3 for Raducanu after Fernandez hits a long road. And she ends it with authority and a wide ace.
Raducanu leads 5-3
Championship point for Raducanu after Fernandez’s shot hits the boards and stays on his side of the pitch for once. But the Brit (maybe battling nerves?) Hits the shot aside and the game is two. Then, after a trade, she hits the backhand into the net and that’s an advantage for Fernandez – but she couldn’t convert. Another championship point for Raducanu, and she hits the forehand into the net. The Canadian defends herself and with a winning forehand down the line and Raducanu hitting the ball into the net, she says, “I haven’t finished yet.”
Raducanu leads 5-2
The Briton plays tennis with confidence. Serving to go up 5-2, she won the match while Fernandez’s backhand was long.
Raducanu leads 4-2
Raducanu can sense it now as she takes a 15-40 lead. The crowd tries to push Fernandez and she gets a break. But on the next point, Fernandez will get the short ball and Raducanu with the magnificent forehand winner of the pass shot.
Raducanu leads 3-2
The 18-year-old is holding on and things are back to serve between two women playing high quality tennis and taking risks. Both paint the lines in this one. They may be young and playing in their very first Grand Slam final, but they have nerves of steel.
Raducanu gets a break point chance as his short cross backhand cuts the line. She converted with a winning return from the backhand.
Fernandez leads 2-1
Another net shot that Raducanu can’t get over the net and now Fernandez has two break points. But, the Briton gets back first as she hits the ball deep and Fernandez can’t handle the shot. Then she levels it to two and gets the ad as well, with two powerful serves Fernandez puts on a racket but can’t come back. Fernandez, however, who has the crowd behind her, ends up breaking Raducanu to take the lead in the second set.
Fernandez drags 0-40 but continues to play without fear. She hits a forehand near the sideline that Raducanu struggles to get back, a winning backhand near the line and shoots a serve the 18-year-old can’t come back to get him to equalize. She then gets the advantage and the game after Raducanu cannot handle two consecutive serves.
Raducanu leads 1-0
Raducanu easily holds on to five points to start the second set.
First set: Raducanu wins 6-4
A big cross return from Raducanu’s backhand gave him two break point chances to win the first set. She misses the first chance after sending a long baseline. She misses the second as she sends a running lob on Fernandez but wide. Raducanu gets another set point as Fernandez kicks the ball long to two, but she returns it straight away with a backhand return into the net after a second serve. Now her fourth set point and she comes up with a winner right down the line after a few cross shots opened up the pitch.
Raducanu leads 5-4
Both players on the run in a rally (fifth point) that ends with Raducanu letting a Fernandez backhand go long – and he sails an inch long perhaps. At the next point, Fernandez sends a long forehand and Raducanu is just one game away from winning the first set. Reminder: she has not lost a set since the start of qualifying.
Another match is a draw but Fernandez holds on thanks to his 11th set winner. Raducanu, by comparison, has eight winners.
Raducanu leads 4-3
A big forehand winner right down the line for Raducanu – she might have taken off when she hit him. She pumps her fist and yells at as she takes a 40-30 lead in the game. The pair then exchange groundstrokes before Raducanu runs Fernandez over the backline, preventing him from recovering the forehand.
Sloppy play by Raducanu as she has three unforced errors before Fernandez’s point of play hits the board and falls just over the net. She puts her hands up and smiles because she knows she was lucky there.
Raducanu leads 3-2
Raducanu holds on and regains the lead after Fernandez progresses from 0 to 30.
Fernandez holds Raducanu back. She was leading 40-0 before the Briton grabbed two points; However, the fiery Canadian got a big serve on the line that Raducanu couldn’t handle until the first set.
Raducanu leads 2-1
Returning to serve after another game, there are several ties (three). Raducanu had played 19 service games in a row (dating back to his semi-final game) before making a direct backhand error to give Fernandez the break.
Raducanu leads 2-0
Fernandez looks nervous as she double faults to bow 0-30, then hits an unforced error on the forehand to give Raducanu three break points. But the Canadian mounts a comeback tied for two. After five ties, Raducanu reaches his sixth breaking point as Fernandez cannot handle the comeback.
Raducanu leads 1-0
Raducanu used to start things. Fernandez wins the first point but Raducanu wins the opener with a cross backhand winner.
4:10 p.m. – The players take the field. Fernandez’s cheers are slightly louder.
3:50 p.m. – After her quarterfinal victory over Elina Svitolina at the 2021 US Open, Fernandez was asked what they nurture the Canadian players who make them play such inspiring tennis. The 19-year-old replied, at the right time: “I would say it’s maple syrup.”