Emma Raducanu beats Leylah Fernandez in US Open women’s final – as it happened

By Bryan Armen Graham at Flushing Meadows
Emma Raducanu kisses the US Open championship trophy after defeating Leylah Fernandez.
Emma Raducanu kisses the US Open championship trophy after defeating Leylah Fernandez. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

That’s all for tonight. Be sure to check out Tumaini Carayol’s full report and be sure to join us tomorrow for coverage of the men’s singles final.

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Reaction to Emma Raducanu’s stunning victory in Flushing Meadows continues to pour in. “What a sensational match! Huge congratulations to @EmmaRaducanu,” the British prime minister Boris Johnson wrote. “You showed extraordinary skill, poise and guts and we are all hugely proud of you.”

The Spice Girls have praised the “Girl Power” of both finalists, writing: “Wow! Amazing tennis from leylahfernandez and EmmaRaducanu that’s Girl Power right there!! Congratulations Emma.”

Added TV pundit Gary Lineker: “First time in my life I’ve ever tweeted whilst on air but my goodness what a performance, what a triumph, what an amazing young woman. Congratulations EmmaRaducanu on a truly staggering achievement. US Open winner at 18 without losing a set. Extraordinarily fabulous.”

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has chimed in, saying: “Look at that bounce back @EmmaRaducanu”.

Same for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge: “Huge congratulations @EmmaRaducanu on your stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory! Incredible –we are all so proud of you.”

Still waiting to hear from Liam Gallagher, who was on it early.

“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 during the trophy ceremony. “I knew that I’d have to dig deep. I fell, somehow, and I thought that would throw myself off balance because I was going to serve. I was just praying not for a double fault but we got through it and I think just staying in the moment, focusing on what I had to do and my process and the mindset just really helped.”

Asked about the significance of the first all-teenage final since 1999, when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis, Raducanu says: “I think it shows the future of women’s tennis and just the depth of the game right now is so great.

“I think every single player has a shot of winning any tournament. I hope that the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the greatest legends, for example Billie Jean (King) right here, and everyone who’s at the top of the game right now.”

Leylah Annie Fernandez (left) holds the runner-up trophy as Emma Raducanu celebrates with the championship trophy.
Leylah Annie Fernandez (left) holds the runner-up trophy as Emma Raducanu celebrates with the championship trophy. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

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Raducanu’s US Open adventure began with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Bibiane Schoofs in the first round of qualifying. Eighteen days and 10 matches later she is still yet to drop a set. The last player to triumph at Flushing Meadows without conceding one was Serena Williams, who surrendered only 32 games during her title run in 2014.

Raducanu pockets $2,500,000 for winning the US Open. Her career winnings entering the tournament: $303,376.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu hugs supporters in her box after defeating Leylah Annie Fernandez on Saturday.. Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

JUST IN: The Queen has congratulated Emma Raducanu on winning the US Open, saying: “It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.”

The Queen has congratulated Emma Raducanu on winning the US Open, saying: “It
is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard
work and dedication.”

Emma Raducanu wins the US Open!

Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 6-3 Fernandez

Raducanu is serving a 5-3, 30-40 and break point down as we restart. And Fernandez, who tried to keep loose during the break in play, nets a forehand seven shots into the baseline exchange for deuce. Then Raducanu errs on a forehand in a 10-stroke rally to go break point down again, but hits a forehand winner on the next point for deuce then forces Fernandez in a rushed backhand for a third championship point. Raducanu steps to the line and crushes a 108mph ace out wide then falls to her knees after 1hr 53min. Say it out loud: Emma Raducanu is the US Open champion!

Emma Raducanu reacts to winning match point to defeat Leylah Annie Fernandez.
Emma Raducanu reacts to winning match point to defeat Leylah Annie Fernandez. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images
Emma Raducanu (left) reacts after defeating Lelyah Fernandez win the women’s final.
The crowd applaud Raducanu’s triumph. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Annie Fernandez embrace after Raducanu’s win.
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Annie Fernandez embrace after Raducanu’s win. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 5-3 (*30-40) Fernandez (*denotes next server)

I’d say this crowd is about 65-35 in Fernandez’s favor and it’s never more apparent than when Fernandez crushes a forehand winner for love-15 on Raducanu’s serve. Raducanu gets it to 30-15 and two points from the title on a Fernandez unforced error and a volley winner at the net, but a netted volley by Raducanu pushes it to 30-all. An opening here for Fernandez and the crowd is hysterical after the point! Fernandez then forces Raducanu into an error for 30-40 ... and ... Raducanu has called for a physio! Chair umpire Marijana Veljovic has just informed the crowd that Raducanu is receiving a medical timeout.

Emma Raducanu takes an injury timeout after cutting her knee while sliding for a ball.
Emma Raducanu takes an injury timeout after cutting her knee while sliding for a ball. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Second set: *Raducanu 6-4, 5-3 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

A nervy Fernandez goes love-15 down after making an unforced error off her forehand and Raducanu is three points from the title. Raducanu answers with a mishit forehand for 15-all, then Fernandez gets a free point on a 99mph body serve for 30-15. Then Fernandez flinches at the end of a 10-shot baseline rally for 30-all and Raducanu is two points from the championship. Another backhand error for Fernandez and Radacanu has match point for the US Open title. Fernandez saves it with a sharp backhand Raducanu can’t get back into play for deuce. Raducanu nets a backhand on the seventh shot of a baseline rally for game point, but Fernandez then sprays a backhand from the line for deuce number two. Another misfire by Fernandez gives Raducanu a second championship point, but she misses on a forehand from the baseline for deuce. From there Ferandez is able to escape with the hold after pounding a forehand winner to cap an exciting nine-shot rally and forcing Raducanu to net a backhand while in full sprint.

Job done, two championship points saved, but now Raducanu will serve for the title.

Leylah Annie Fernandez returns a ball to Emma Raducanu,
Leylah Annie Fernandez returns a ball to Emma Raducanu, Photograph: Corey Sipkin/UPI/Shutterstock

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Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 5-2 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu opens with a 92mph ace. Fernandez hits a forehand winner for 15-all. Then Raducanu rips off three quick points for the straightforward hold. All too easy. She’s one game away from the unlikeliest US Open championship on record and Fernandez will serve to stay in the match after the change of ends.

Raducanu breaks in sixth game of second set!

Second set: *Raducanu 6-4, 4-2 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Raducanu rips off three quick points from 15-love down on Fernandez’s serve and suddenly she’s got two more break-point chances. Fernandez saves the first with a well-placed second serve but Raducanu converts the second with a lovely forehand passing shot winner four shots into the point. The finish line is in sight now!

Raducanu breaks in fourth game of second set!

Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 3-2 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu opens with an unforced error off her backhand to go down love-15, then is pushed to 30-all, but follows with first serves of 95mph out wide and 96mph down the middle that Fernandez can’t get back over the net to back up her break of serve. We’re still on serve in this second set.

Raducanu breaks in fourth game of second set!

Second set: *Raducanu 6-4, 2-2 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Well, well, well. Fernandez quickly falls behind love-30 on her serve after an unforced error off her backhand early in a baseline exchange followed by a lovely forehand return winner by Raducanu. There’s an opportunity here for Raducanu to immediately break back and get back on serve early in the set, just like Fernandez did in the third game of the opener. Fernandez gets it to 30-all with a 92mph first serve that Raducanu can’t return followed by a backhand winner from the baseline, but Raducanu answers with a backhand winner of her own on the eighth shot of the next rally for break point. And Raducanu converts it with a backhand return winner off a 86mph second serve to the body. We’re back on serve at 2-all in the second!

Emma Raducanu reacts.
Emma Raducanu reacts. Photograph: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

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Fernandez breaks in third game of second set!

Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 1-2 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

A golden chance for Fernandez here. Raducanu wins the first point after a 13-shot exchange but the Briton then follows with a couple of errors to go 15-40 and double break point down on her serve. Two chances for Fernandez to take an early lead in the second set – the first break points that Raducanu has faced since she served at 2-0 in the first. And Raducanu brushes them both aside behind a couple of good serves, then uncorks a 107mph unreturnable to move within a point of the game. But from there Raducanu follows with an unforced error for deuce and Fernandez hits a forehand winner at the net for a third break-point chance ... and Raducanu nets a backhand early in the point to give Fernandez the early break in the second!

Second set: *Raducanu 6-4, 1-1 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

A very scratchy service game by Fernandez puts her behind the eight ball. She quickly goes love-40 and triple break point down thanks to a misplayed forehand, followed by a double fault and an unforced forehand error. Three changes for Raducanu to take this match by the scruff. But Fernandez saves each of them: forehand winner, backhand winner, 94mph service winner out wide for deuce. Fernandez the follows with a pair of unreturnable serves to escape with the hold with five straight points from love-40 down. Sensational resolve!

Emma Raducanu (right) returns a shot to Leylah Fernandez.
The crowd in the Arthur Ashe Stadium are being treated to a fascinating match. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

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Second set: Raducanu 6-4, 1-0 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu opens the second set with only her second ace of the match, a 96mph number down the middle. She misfires on a backhand forehand from the baseline for 15-all, but wins three quick points from there capped by a forehand winner at the net for the stress-free hold to open the second.

Raducanu wins first set, 6-4!

Raducanu breaks in 10th game of first set!

First set: Raducanu 6-4 Fernandez

Raducanu rattles off three quick points including a backhand return winner from 15-love down and suddenly the 18-year-old qualifier has a pair of set points. Raducanu wastes the first with a loose backhand from the baseline and Fernandez saves the second with a winner for deuce. Another Fernandez unforced error gives Raducanu a third set point but she squanders that one too with an unforced error on her backhand return of an 89mph second serve. Moments later, however, Raducanu has a fourth set point and this time she converts it, pounding her 11th winner of the match well out of Fernandez to take the first set in 58 minutes!

Emma Raducanu celebrates after taking the first set of the match.
Emma Raducanu celebrates after taking the first set of the match. Photograph: Ella Ling/Shutterstock

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First set: Raducanu 5-4 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu opens her fifth service game with a backhand winner early the point, but Fernandez follows with a gorgeous drop-shot winner from the baseline that Raducanu in full forward sprint can’t retrieve for 15-all. Raducanu serves it out comfortably from there and Fernandez will serve to stay in the opening set after the change of ends.

First set: *Raducanu 4-4 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Fernandez double-faults for a fourth time to open her service game but responds with a 104mph ace down the middle for 15-all. She then goes down 15-30 after failing to handle a wicked forehand return by Raducanu and now the Brit has glimmer for a break at 15-30. Fernandez answers with a pair of winners, followed by an unforced error off her backhand for deuce. But she’s able to find her way out of trouble from there, crunching a forehand winner followed by an unreturnable serve to hold for 4-all.

Leylah Annie Fernandez eyes the ball.
Leylah Annie Fernandez eyes the ball. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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First set: Raducanu 4-3 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu goes down love-15 when Fernandez hits a backhand volley winner, then levels at 15-all with a volley winner of her own to settle a 19-shot rally, the longest of the match so far. She follows it with an unforced error off the backhand side to fall behind 15-30. A chance for Fernandez here. But Raducanu rips off three quick points from there to slam the door shut and we’re still on serve in the opener.

First set: *Raducanu 3-3 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Fernandez has struggled mightily getting her first serve in from the jump and it’s making things awfully complicated for her today. She goes down love-15, then makes her third double fault for 15-30 before escaping with the hold on a charitable netcord winner. The 19-year-old Canadian has gotten 13 of 28 first serves in after that service game, a 46% clip that just won’t do if she expects to get the win today.

First set: Raducanu 3-2 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu goes down love-15 on her serve when Fernandez rips a backhand winner on the eighth shot of a rally, then makes her second double fault of the day for love-30. But the 18-year-old qualifier calmly strokes a forehand winner followed by returnable serves of 93mph down the middle, 92mph out wide and 95mph down the middle to hold.

Emma Raducanu hits a return to Lelyah Annie Fernandez.
Emma Raducanu hits a return to Lelyah Annie Fernandez. Photograph: John G Mabanglo/EPA

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First set: *Raducanu 2-2 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Fernandez races out to 40-love with three quick points on her serve, but Raducanu pushes it to 40-30 with a forehand volley winner followed by a Fernandez mishit volley. But before things can get really complicated, Fernandez uncorks a 102mph bullet down the center that Raducanu can’t get back into play to hold.

Fernandez breaks in third game of first set!

First set: Raducanu 2-1 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Some more good baseline rallying from these talented teenagers and each forces the other into an error for 15-all, then 30-all. First pressure point of the match for Raducanu as she tries to back up her early break. Raducanu then overcooks a backhand from the baseline on the fourth shot of a rally and Fernandez has her first break-point chance of the afternoon at 30-40. Raducanu coolly saves it with a 94mph serve down the middle that Fernandez can’t get back over the net, but follows with an unforced error off her backhand to give Fernandez a second look at a break. And it’s wasted by Fernandez as she dumps a backhand into the net from a step inside the baseline to end an 11-shot exchange. Deuce number two. Fernandez rips a forehand volley winner at the net early in the rally for a third break-point chance, but Raducanu follows with an unreturnable 97mph second serve for deuce again. From there Raducanu mixes in her first double fault of the day for a fourth break point and this time she converts when Raducanu chips in her seventh unforced error of the day (against four winners. We’re back on serve in the opening set and what a final it’s been so far: 25 minutes to play the first three games!

Leylah Annie Fernandez flings a forehand to Emma Raducanu.
Leylah Annie Fernandez flings a forehand to Emma Raducanu. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

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Raducanu breaks in second game of first set!

First set: *Raducanu 2-0 Fernandez (*denotes next server)

Nervy start for Fernandez as Raducanu pounces on an 88mph second serve to crush a backhand return winner for love-15. Fernandez then double-faults for love-30 and makes an unforced error off her backhand to quickly go triple break point down. Raducanu wastes the first with a misfired backhand from the baseline early in a rally, then Fernandez saves the second with a sharp forehand winner to end a 13-stroke exchange where it seemed Raducanu had gotten into the point. 30-40. Fernandez then hits a 91mph second serve down the middle that Raducanu can’t get back into play and the Canadian has saved all three break-point chances for deuce. Raducanu then hits a forehand volley winner to cap an eight-stroke back-and-forth for a fourth break point but Fernandez saves that one also with her first ace of the day: a 103mph number down the middle. And, oh dear, Fernandez has double-faulted again! It’s going to be a fifth break point against Fernandez in what’s become a slog off an opening service game and she saves it with a sharp backhand early in the point. Deuce number three. Fernandez then hits an unreturnable serve for another game point, but follows it with an unforced forehand error for a fourth deuce. Fernandez then gets the best of an 11-shot baseline exchange for her second game point, but goes long with a forehand on the following point for deuce number five. Now it’s another baseline rally with both players trading deep groundstrokes from the baseline and Fernandez blinks, sending a backhand wide for Raducanu’s sixth break point of the game. And this time she converts when Fernandez misfires on a forehand early. Sixteen points in all and Raducanu noses ahead right out of the gate!

Emma Raducanu celebrates breaking Leylah Annie Fernandez to win the second game in the first set.
Emma Raducanu celebrates breaking Leylah Annie Fernandez. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

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First set: Raducanu 1-0 Fernandez* (*denotes next server)

Raducanu is first to serve. It’s aa 96mph offering out wide leading to a six-shot rally ended when Fernandez hits a cross-court forehand winner. Raducanu gets it to 15-all after Fernandez makes an error off the backhand, then to 30-15 when she pins back Fernandez with a crisp forehand before putting away the point with an overhead. Raducanu follows with a 94mph first serve that Fernandez can’t get back into the court for 40-15, but puts a forehand into the net early in the next rally for 40-30. From there, Raducanu calmly pounds her first backhand winner of the day into the corner to hold. A poised, uncomplicated hold of serve in the young Briton’s opening service game.

The players have just taken the court following their pre-match television interviews in the tunnel. Interestingly, the nearly full 23,771-seat stadium appears to be more behind Fernandez.

The popular vlogger Logan Paul has just made his was down to courtside and is sitting a couple rows behind Fernandez’s chair.

Leylah Annie Fernandez (left) and Emma Raducanu smile for the cameras.
Leylah Annie Fernandez (left) and Emma Raducanu smile for the cameras. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

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Fernandez and Raducanu are the 20th and 21st unseeded grand slam finalists of the Open era and the sixth and seventh in New York. However, this year’s US Open is the first time two unseeded players have faced one another in a major final.

And as we’re surely all aware by now, Raducanu is the first qualifier to in the professional era to make it as far as a slam final.

In a very short time, Radumania has transcended the sports pages. Here’s the business angle of Emma Raducanu’s fairytale run to today’s final. The short version: the sky’s the limit.

Tim Crow, a sports marketing consultant who advised Coca-Cola on football sponsorship for two decades, said: “I haven’t had this many calls from clients, major brands, who are interested in her since Lewis Hamilton broke through in Formula One. If she wins she will become one of the hottest properties in British sport, if not the hottest.”

Crow said Raducanu’s combination of youth, sporting prowess, charismatic personality and international appeal – she was born in Canada to parents from Romania and China and is a product of the British tennis system – makes her commercial gold for brands. She has a shoe and clothing contract with Nike and racquet sponsorship with Wilson.

“As far as brand appeal is concerned I think you can draw parallels with Naomi Osaka [born in Japan to a Haitian father and Japanese mother and raised in the US],” said Crow. “Because of the multicultural aspect of her heritage she is able to resonate in so many markets. She is a world citizen: she appeals so far beyond a typical white, British, middle-class female tennis player.”

Today’s match is the first US Open final between teenagers since 1999, when Serena Williams saw off Martina Hingis for the first of the American’s 23 career major titles. Our Tumaini Carayol has written about their unlikely convergence today in the world’s biggest tennis stadium and what it means for the sport moving forward.

Over the past 20 years, as memories of Martina Hingis, Venus Williams and Serena Williams battling for glory in grand slam finals as teens faded deep into the memory of professional tennis, it soon became clear that the era of teenage supernovas had abated.

While there have been numerous anomalies since, including the recent triumphs of Bianca Andreescu and Iga Swiatek, with the rise of technology and augmenting physicality within the sport teenagers have been brushed aside.

Not this time. After one of the most manic grand slam tournaments in recent years, the last players standing in the women’s draw are two youngsters, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez and 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, who had the audacity to ignore convention and believe that they could win each match ahead. With every round they have passed and each career-best victory achieved, they took it. On Saturday, they will be the first pair of teens to face each other in a grand slam final since Serena Williams and Hingis at the US Open in 1999.

Hello and welcome to Arthur Ashe Stadium for today’s US Open women’s final between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Annie Fernandez. It’s a showdown that would have been unthinkable at the start of the fortnight, but we’re less an hour away from a best-of-three-sets match between a pair teenagers ranked 73rd and 150th with $2,500,000 (£1,807,000) in prize money and a grand slam championship on the line.

The players should be on court in a little over an hour but we’ll be with you throughout the final run-up on a cool 76F (24C) afternoon at the Billie Jean King USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s a little more on the players’ journeys to this point:

There’s unexpected and there’s this: a US Open final between two teenagers ranked 73rd and 150th in the world.

That’s where things stand after Thursday’s extraordinary women’s semi-final twin bill at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the latest shocking development at the season-ending grand slam which, despite the absence of some of the sport’s brightest stars, continues to unfold in the most unpredictable of ways.

Thirty-eight months ago, Emma Raducanu and Leylah Annie Fernandez met in the second round of the Wimbledon girls’ singles. Now they will cross paths for the first time since then with all to play for in the world’s biggest tennis stadium: a $2.5m cheque and what surely will go down as the unlikeliest US Open championship on record – regardless of who wins.

“Obviously since then we’ve both come very far in our games and as people,” Raducanu recalled in Friday morning’s dizzying aftermath. “I’m sure it’s going to be extremely different to when we last encountered each other. But we’re both playing good tennis so it will be a good match.”

Read the full report below:


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