Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez to make US Open history in teenage final

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Raducanu, 18, will face 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday, making it the first major teenage final since the 1999 US Open when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis.

Both players had great runs at the US Open that have already made history.

Raducanu, ranked 150th in the world, had to qualify to enter the main draw at the US Open. She was the first qualifier to reach the US Open semifinals in the open era and this is only her second appearance in a major tournament. She has yet to lose a set in the tournament, including in all three qualifying rounds.

On Saturday, she will play not only for her first major title, but also for her first title of any kind on the WTA Tour.

After her match against Sakkari, Raducanu said she knew she would have to play some of her best tennis “if I wanted a chance”.

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“I think today was always going to be a very difficult game, against Maria Sakkari. She is an incredible player, probably one of the best athletes on the circuit,” Raducanu said in her post press conference. -match. “Honestly, I think I played some of my best tennis today.”

Raducanu is also the youngest Grand Slam finalist since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004. She aims to become the first Briton to win a major tournament since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

In her run for the US Open, Raducanu beat two top 20 ranked players: Sakkari, 18th, and Belinda Bencic, 12th.

On his stunning performance so far, Raducanu said it was “A surprise. Honestly, I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above.”

“It means a lot to be here in this situation. I obviously wanted to play Grand Slam tournaments, but I didn’t know when that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this point in my career, I didn’t have no words, ”she said.

Fernandez, meanwhile, has been a giant slayer, beating two former US Open champions in world No.3 Naomi Osaka and No.17 Angelique Kerber as well as No.5 Elina Svitolina.

To reach the final, Fernandez beat world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 on Thursday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

After his semifinal victory, Fernandez called his experience at the US Open “magical”.

“I think one word that really stuck with me ‘magic’ because not only is my run really good, but also the way I’m playing right now,” she said at the press conference post-match.

“I’m just having fun, I’m trying to produce something for the crowd to enjoy. I’m glad whatever I do on the court the fans love it and I love it too. We ‘I’ll say how magical. “

Teen Leylah Fernandez beats Elina Svitolina to reach US Open semi-finals

Ranked 73rd before the US Open, Fernandez is expected to enter the top 40 on Monday.

Excitement for the final is already brewing, with many commenting on social media about how the game is a win for immigrant families.

Raducanu was born to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother and Fernandez is the daughter of a Filipino Canadian mother and an Ecuadorian father.

When told after her semi-final match that the Philippines are now interested in tennis because of her, Fernandez said “wow”.

“I am so happy to hear that everyone in the Philippines is cheering and supporting me. So thank you,” she said, adding that she was looking forward to eating her Filipino cuisine “lolo” (grandpa ).

After her match, Raducanu said that having a Chinese mother “definitely instilled hard work, discipline from a young age” and that she admired Chinese tennis star Li Na.

“When I was younger I took a lot of inspiration from Li Na even now just because she was such a fierce competitor,” Raducanu said of the two-time Grand Slam winner.

CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this story.

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