Pair earn first career grand slam final through contrasting performances on Sunday in US Open qualifying
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez to make history in all-teen US Open final
Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez of the United States will make history at the US Open when they compete in an all-teen girls’ final on Sunday for the right to become the first all-teen grand slam champions.
Raducanu, 16, fired a five-under 67 on Saturday to win her 12th successive qualifying match and put herself in a career-best position with two rounds to spare at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.
Fernandez, also 16, outlasted Belarusian Victoria Arrieta 6-3 6-7(3) 6-4 in a match that lasted nearly three hours.
Fernandez will be competing in a grand slam final for the first time and her opponent in the final will be in her debut at the US Open, which begins next week.
“I’m very happy, but I’m also very nervous,” Fernandez told reporters. “Emma plays a lot of good tennis and she was playing solid.”
Fernandez said she followed a similar strategy to against Arrieta, seeking a low-risk approach, including a staunch serving game, as she aimed to repeat her run at the French Open earlier this year, when she reached the quarter-finals.
Raducanu, meanwhile, produced a round-of-16 showing at the US Open that was her best showing at any slam.
“For me to play so many matches, and to get into the quarter-finals of a grand slam, that’s really the first great victory of my career,” said Raducanu, who has qualified for the US Open for the last three years.
“So I’m really, really happy about it. I’m hoping I can keep this going.”
Raducanu has been one of the most consistent players at the women’s US Open and on Saturday improved her overall record to 17-3.
On Saturday, the Hungarian fired six birdies against just one bogey against a modest total of eight bogeys.
She opened with a bogey at the opening hole before turning in 34, and added four more birdies after the turn.
Fernandez, a 15-year-old prodigy, is set to become the second all-American teen in as many years to reach the final at the US Open, following Mackenzie McDonald last year.
McDonald, a two-time US Open qualifier, was the only other teenager in the US Open field this year.