Fearless teens Fernandez and Raducanu chase glory
FLUSHING, NY – Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu will clash in one of the most improbable U.S. Open finals on Saturday, the teenagers’ fearless tennis bringing them to the cusp of becoming the sport’s newest major champion.
Their title clash under the lights at the Arthur Ashe Stadium will be the first major final in the Open Era in either the men’s and women’s game to feature two unseeded players.
Canadian Fernandez, who turned 19 this week, was ranked 73rd coming into the hardcourt Grand Slam, while 18-year-old Briton Raducanu was 150th in the women’s rankings.
Fernandez was the first to book her spot with yet another upset on Thursday as she took down second seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4 in the first semi-final.
Raducanu wasted little time joining her, wrapping up her contest against Greek Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in 84 minutes to become the first British woman to reach a major final since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
But with no burden of expectation on their shoulders, the pair have showcased a brand of fearless tennis at Flushing Meadows that has endeared them to the fans and helped them chart a path to the showpiece match.
The final will be the first Women’s Tennis Association-level meeting between them, but the pair previously clashed in the second round of the 2018 Wimbledon juniors, when Raducanu won 6-2, 6-4.
It will also mark the first Grand Slam final to be contested by two teenagers since Serena Williams and Martina Hingis met in the 1999 U.S. Open title clash.