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Raducanu, 18, becomes the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since 1977, the new British No 1 and claims the $2.5m winner’s cheque in just her fourth senior tournament; Raducanu did not drop a set in three matches of qualifying and seven main draw contests
Last Updated: 11/09/21 11:29pm
Emma Raducanu’s history-making three weeks in New York got the ultimate fairytale ending as she beat fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez 6-4 6-3 to win the US Open and become Britain’s first female Grand Slam champion since 1977 – and the first qualifier, male or female, to win a Grand Slam title.
Just a couple of months ago, the 18-year-old from Orpington was sitting her A-Levels but a remarkable run – in a remarkable women’s tournament – that started in first round qualifying against Bibiane Schoofs on August 25, ended with her lifting the trophy without dropping a set in 10 matches and losing just 33 games.
In front of a beaming Virginia Wade – the last British woman to win a Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 1977, and also the last British woman to win the US Open in 1968 – Raducanu produced a superb performance in a thrilling final where she won the key moments and reeled off five of the final six games to seize her moment.
A spectacular contest had time for a dramatic twist, when Raducanu – at 30-40 down on her own serve – was forced to endure a medical time-out to clean up a cut to her knee as Fernandez, fresh from saving two Championships points in the eighth game on her own serve, attempted to launch a comeback.
But Raducanu was not to be denied, a third Championship point arrived and she underlined her barely-believable story with an ace to seal victory in 1 hour and 51 minutes of spellbinding action.
As well as the title – in just her fourth WTA Tour level event and second Grand Slam – she will now rise an astonishing 127 places in the world rankings on Monday, taking over as the British No 1 and ranked world No 23rd.
Three months on from a run to the last 16 at Wimbledon that ended when she was forced to retire with breathing difficulties, it was the remarkable Raducanu that left the 23,500 sell-out crowd and the millions watching breathless with a performance, title and story for the ages.
More to follow…
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