Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates winning match point to defeat Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada during the second set of their Women’s Singles final match on Day Thirteen of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2021. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Emma Raducanu has become the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam singles title.
The 18-year-old overpowered Leylah Fernandez, a 19-year-old from Canada — winning 6-4 6-3 in the U.S. Open final.
Their showdown lasted an hour and 51 minutes, was the first major tennis final between two teenagers in 22 years.
Saturday night’s match had a dramatic finale as Raducanu was forced to have a medical time out after skidding on the court and hurting her leg as she raced to return a ball.
It is an extraordinary, unprecedented achievement for Raducanu, who came into the U.S. Open ranked 150th in the world.
She didn’t drop a set during the entire tournament, playing a total of 10 matches including three in qualifying.
No qualifier had ever reached a slam final before — and as well as being the first woman to win a title in as few as two tournaments, Raducanu is also the youngest champion since Maria Sharapova triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.
Each rally between Raducanu and Fernandez was hard fought, with both women reading each other’s games in a way their previous opponents didn’t manage to do.
The last British woman to hoist a major tennis trophy was Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.