Emma Raducanu completed her historic run through the U.S. Open by beating Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 for her first Grand Slam title.
Raducanu was already the first player in the professional era, dating to 1968, to come through the qualifying rounds to reach the final of a major tournament. The 18-year-old from Britain then won it, becoming the youngest Grand Slam champion since 17-year-old Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.
“I think it shows that the future of women’s tennis and the depth is so great. I think every single player has a shot at winning the tournament,” Raducanu said during the trophy presentation.
“First of all I really want to congratulate Leylah on her incredible fortnight. It was an incredibly difficult match but I thought the quality was really high.
“I hope that me and Leylah put on a good performance today.”
Watching in the stands was Virginia Wade, the last female player from Great Britain to win a major, which Raducanu found inspiring.
“It means so much to have Virginia here and also Tim [Henman]. To have such British legends and icons here, to follow in their footsteps – it definitely gave me belief I could do it,” she said.
Raducanu wins the first set in US Open final
In just her second Grand Slam tournament, Raducanu ended the tournament as the first player since Serena Williams in 2014 to not drop a set in the U.S. Open.
She closed out the match after needing a medical timeout during her service game for treatment after cutting her knee.
“Is she getting stitches? What is taking so long? You clean it and put a band-aid on it,” ESPN commentator Chris McKendry said.
“She was bleeding all the way down her shin.”
Raducanu spoke about how she was able to keep calm and serve out the match despite the stoppage and momentum swinging to Fernandez, despite her opponent getting upset about the timeout with officials.
“Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight, that’s why she is in the final. I knew I had to dig deep,” she said.
“I was just praying not for a double fault but we got through it and just staying in the moment and focusing on what I had to do and my mindset just really helped in those tough times.”
Fernandez knocked out three top-five players en route to the final but couldn’t find the energy for a comeback after playing four straight three-set matches.