With his straight set victory, Raducanu has not lost a set throughout the tournament.
“It was an incredibly difficult game, but I thought the level was extremely high,” Raducanu said afterwards, praising Fernandez for the way she played during the tournament. “And I hope we will face each other in many more tournaments and hopefully in the finals.”
Raducanu fought off a brief rally from Fernandez in the second set to win the title.
Led 5-2 in the second set, Raducanu only needed one more point on two occasions to win everything. But Fernandez hit back each time and ultimately won the game to make it 5-3.
Then at 5-3, Raducanu grazed his knee in a lunge on the baseline in a point that left him 30-40 behind in the game.
After a medical time out to treat the bleeding knee, the serving Raducanu returned from breaking point to win the match and the championship.
“Staying in the moment, focusing on what I needed to do, my process and my state of mind really helped me through these difficult times,” she said.
The fact that the 18-year-old reached the final first is astonishing. The fact that she won it – historic.
Raducanu, born to a Chinese mother and Romanian father, had to go through three qualifying rounds to even make the main draw in what is only her second Grand Slam appearance.
The 18-year-old had become the first qualifier in either men’s or women’s tennis to reach a Grand Slam final – and now she has become the first qualifier to win one.
How an education has built a “mental strength”
Incredibly, Raducanu didn’t lose a single set in the tournament – and wowed much more experienced opponents as he progressed.
When asked how she maintains such calm in times of high pressure, Raducanu credited the lessons she received from her parents growing up.
“I think the calm and mental toughness definitely comes from my upbringing,” she said ahead of the final.
“I think my parents both instilled in me from a young age to definitely have a positive attitude on the court because, yes, when I was younger it was definitely a no-go if I ‘had a bad attitude. ”
But few could have imagined this dream race in New York.
“Thanks to everyone here in New York,” she said. “I love playing in front of you and you really encouraged me in a very difficult time and I hope Leylah and I had a good performance today.”
Fernandez congratulated Raducanu saying: “I hope to be back here in the final and this time with a trophy – the right one, with the right trophy.”
She also paid tribute to New York on the 20th anniversary of September 11.
“I know that day was particularly difficult for New York and everyone in the United States,” said the Canadian teenager. “I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been for the past 20 years.”
A global British star is born
Her newfound success saw her popularity skyrocket, especially in the UK where she became a household name this summer.
Reaching the final, the teenager was inundated with messages online congratulating the emerging superstar and wishing him good luck.
His accomplishments over the past fortnight have also received royal approval, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sending their best wishes.
After her semi-final victory, Raducanu said 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 from the way she was such a fierce competitor,” Raducanu said of the two-time Grand Slam winner.
With her debut Grand Slam title under her belt, fans around the world will be eagerly watching what this teenage sensation can accomplish in the years to come.
Among those who congratulated Raducanu on Saturday was Queen Elizabeth II, who in a letter called the 18-year-old’s victory a “remarkable achievement at such a young age” and “a testament to your hard work and your devotion”.
“I have no doubt that your outstanding performance and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez will inspire the next generation of tennis leaders,” the letter reads.
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