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Raducanu Takes Youthful Final

18-year-old champ completes US Open run without losing a set
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2021 6:00 PM CDT
Raducanu Takes Teenage Matchup
Emma Raducanu returns a shot to Leylah Fernandez on Saturday during the women's final at the US Open in New York.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(Newser) – Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez delivered a gritty, intense women's final Saturday at the US Open, with Raducanu prevailing, 6-4, 6-3. The British 18-year-old is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era, the Washington Post reports. She was so dominant during her tournament run that in 10 matches, three of them in qualifying, Raducanu didn't lose a set and never was even pushed to a tiebreaker. She came into the Open ranked 150th in the world, per the New York Times. After this victory, she'll rise to No. 23, per ESPN. "I hope me and Leylah put on a good performance for you," Raducanu told the crowd during the trophy presentation.

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Fernandez and Raducanu each forced break points at several points in the first set, but the new champion won the set in an eight-minute game. The 19-year-old Canadian took a 2-1 lead in the second set, but Raducanu put a stop to Fernandez's surge by breaking her serve to take a 3-2 lead. "Leylah's always going to play great tennis and always going to fight, that's just the competitor she is and that's why she's here in the final," Raducanu said after the match, per the Guardian. She's also the first British woman since 1977 to win a Grand Slam; Virginia Wade was in the stands in New York on Saturday.

It was the first all-teenage final at the US Open since 1999, when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis. In their brief careers, Fernandez had won $786,772 in prize money before Saturday, and Raducanu $303,376. The finals payoff will be $1.25 million for Fernandez and $2.5 million for Raducanu. The runner-up had much crowd support during the final, and on a day of national grieving, she thanked the fans afterward. "I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years," Fernandez said. (Read more US Open Tennis stories.)

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