Sign up for myFT Daily Digest and be the first to learn about sports news.
Emma Raducanu won the U.S. Women’s Open on Saturday, becoming the first player to win a Grand Slam trophy after entering the championship through a qualifying round, shocking the tennis world.
This 18-year-old girl from Kent is the first British woman to win a major event since Virginia Wade won the championship at Wimbledon in 1977. Raducanu maintained the ruthless efficiency she showed in New York for two weeks, beating Canadian teenager Laila Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.
The historic victory will cement Raducanu as a household name in the UK, if not worldwide. From the qualifiers to the final on Saturday, she did not lose to 10 opponents in two and a half weeks.
Saturday’s most unlikely final was played between two unranked teenagers-the first such final in the history of a Grand Slam-and Raducanu challenged him to meet him in Fernandez. A peer known for his composure to former champions.
“I knew I had to dig deeper,” Raducanu said of the break point in the decisive second set. Wade and British tennis legend Tim Henman cheered in Queens, “It makes me believe I can really do it.”
Congratulations Raducanu immediately started pouring into social media, including those from the Queen. In a signed post on her official Instagram, she wrote that Raducanu’s victory was “a remarkable achievement at such a young age”.
Sports Marketing Expert predict Raducanu may become a new face in the British tennis world, and the sponsor’s interest may extend beyond the slim combination of her existing supporters Wilson and Nike.
She was born in Toronto, her mother is Chinese and her father is Romanian. She moved to the UK with her family when she was two years old. She was a product of the Lawn Tennis Association’s talent development plan. Before this weekend, Radukanu stated that her greatest achievement in tennis was to win a prize of US$25,000 in the 2019 tournament in Pune, India.
Her performance in Queens was Radukanu’s second major event after his breakthrough at Wimbledon in July. There, she became the youngest British woman to enter the top 16 and was forced to retire due to severe breathing difficulties.
Since then, Raducanu has pieced together winning momentum in a series of competitions held in North America this summer, building confidence by reaching the quarterfinals and finals of the U.S. Tour and attractions from San Francisco to Chicago.
“I think I’m working hard in every game,” Radukanu said after his victory in the semifinals on Thursday.
Saturday’s championship game was held in front of crowded stadium audiences on a sunny afternoon and was an exciting display of the next generation of women’s tennis. Fernandez, who turned 19 in Zhou, made an impressive consecutive advancement to the finals, defeating defending champion Naomi Osaka and former world number one Angelique Kerber.
After her failure, she held back tears and told the crowd that she hoped to return next year and paid tribute to the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on September 11. “I hope I can be as strong and resilient as New York,” Fernandez said.
The two women have known each other since they were young, but have only met once on the court before, when Radukanu defeated Fernandez in two straight sets in the first few rounds of the Wimbledon youth team in 2018.
Raducanu said she hopes their championship game on Saturday will be the first in a long-term competition.
“I think this shows that the future and depth of women’s tennis right now is really great,” she said. Regarding Fernandez, she added: “I hope we can compete with each other in more games and hope to reach the finals.”