Stunning Runs Set Up All-Teen US Open Final

Leylah Fernandez, Emma Raducanu are making tennis history
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2021 3:51 AM CDT
Teens Continue Their Stunning Runs to US Open Final
Emma Raducanu, of Great Britain, reacts after scoring a point against Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the semifinals of the US Open tennis championships, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in New York.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Stunning runs from two teenagers born two months apart in 2002 have set up a historic US Open final. Canada's Leylah Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, beat world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday night, USA Today reports. Her route to the final also involved knocking out world No. 3 Naomi Osaka and No. 5 Elina Svitolina. On Saturday, she will meet 18-year-old British player Emma Raducanu at Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first major all-teenage final since the 1999 US Open, when 17-year-old Serena Williams defeated 18-year-old Martina Hingis, the AP reports. At the start of the tournament, Raducanu was ranked 150th and Fernandez 73rd.

Raducanu is the first female British player to reach a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade in 1977, the Guardian reports. She had to win three qualifying matches to enter and her win over No. 17 Maria Sakkari Thursday night makes her the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final in the professional era. Raducanu, who didn't lose a single set on her path to the final, has known Fernandez since they both played in under-12s tournaments. She last played Fernandez—and won—at junior Wimbledon at 2018.

"They are both young. They play fearless," Sakkari, 26, said of the teens after Thursday's match, per the AP. "They have nothing to lose playing against us." Fernandez and Raducanu, who have been getting loud support from US Open crowds, "have breathed new life into a tournament that was sadly star-depleted at the outset," the Washington Post reports. "We’re all just super hungry to make a difference in the tennis world," Fernandez says. "We want to make an impact in tennis." (More US Open Tennis stories.)

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