In a first ever major final between two unseeded players in the Open era, teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu will faceoff for the 2021 US Open title on Saturday, September 11. Get the live streaming options of this Leylah Fernandez v Emma Raducanu match along with its preview, head to head, and tips here.
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Leylah Fernandez v Emma Raducanu Head to Head
It will be a first meeting between the World No. 73 Fernandez and No. 150 Raducanu.
Fast, Feisty and Fearless Fernandez Continues to Soar
Over the last two weeks, the fast, feisty and fearless Fernandez has toppled three top five players, mastered the art of soaking up pressure and stunned the world with her exceptional speed, power and shot-making ability. And amid all this, she turned 19 as well.
From crediting “Canadian maple syrup” to her “coach dad” to the NY crowd’s energy, she has given plenty of reasons for her astronomical rise at Flushing Meadows, but in the end it’s her quick reflexes, fighting spirit and an innate ability to remain unfazed in the face of adversity that have combined to propel her to great heights.
Three-setters? No problem. Tiebreakers? No problem. Dropped the first set? No problem. Pressure situations have brought the best out of Fernandez throughout the tournament and her 4-0 record in three-setters and 5-0 record in tiebreaks are a testament to that.
Now in the final, she seeks to cap off the stunning fortnight with crowning glory. And despite Raducanu’s extraordinary run to the final, the Canadian will still be the favourite for a plethora of reasons. One of them is the way she outclassed the second, third and fifth seeds. She not only matched their levels but forced them to raise their games in a bid to succeed but neither of them could find a way to break her resolve.
Against the second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinal on Thursday, Fernandez was slow off the blocks with the Belarusian overpowering her in the first three games of the match, but the second seed soon realised that it ain’t easy to dominate the tough Canadian for long. Fernandez roared back inducing errors of the World No. 2 and clinching the set in the tiebreak.
Down a set, Sabalenka clawed her way back into the match, taking the second and forcing the decider, but it was Fernandez who got the first break in the final set, going up 4-2. The Belarusian hit back immediately and sent out a huge roar; was the balance shifting? The answer was revealed in the 10th game when an under pressure Sabalenka made more errors and Fernandez broke her to love to take the contest 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes.
The first two rounds were the only two rounds when she needed less than two hours to conquer her opponents. She began the tournament with a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 win over Ana Konjuh and then knocked out Kaia Kanepi 7-5, 7-5 in the round of 64, before having to rally past two former champions and No. 1s in the next two rounds.
First it was the defending champion Naomi Osaka who Fernandez sent packing with a 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 win and then it was another former No. 1 Angelique Kerber who was eliminated 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2.
Even the Olympic bronze medallist Elina Svitolina, one of the most determined players on the tour, couldn’t outlast Fernandez in a nerve-wracking quarterfinal, which ended with the Canadian winning 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5).
Qualifier Raducanu Makes History
She is ranked No. 150 in the world, had come in as a qualifier and no one in the wildest of dreams would have imagined her to be playing on September 11. But here she is, in the final of a Grand Slam, following two weeks of sheer dominance.
The 18-year-old has played nine matches so far in New York, including the qualifiers, and is yet to drop a set. Just like Fernandez, the British player hasn’t shown signs of being overwhelmed by the occasion or the reputation of her opponents and has enjoyed her game throughout the last two weeks.
On Thursday, Raducanu became the first-ever qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final, when she knocked out the No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinal. She outplayed the Greek in the first set, racing to a 5-0 lead, before wrapping it up 6-1.
She took control of the second as well with an early break and came close to going two breaks up in the seventh game of the set, but the steadfast Sakkari wasn’t ready to give in just yet. Saving five break points, the Greek held serve and sent out a huge roar. It is these moments that can help top players turn the table on their opponents. So was Sakkari coming back into the contest? Not with how Raducanu has been serving over the last nine matches.
The 18-year-old held on to close out the contest and just like her previous wins, looked on in disbelief as the fairy tale continued.
Coming through the qualifiers with three straight set wins, Raducanu defeated Stefanie Vögele in the opening round and Zhang Shuai in the second, dropping serve just thrice in the first two rounds. She raised the level even further in the third round, demolishing Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1 and lost just three games against Ash Barty-conquerer Shelby Rogers in the fourth round, defeating the American 6-2, 6-1.
Raducanu had already demonstrated her potential on her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon this year, when she reached the fourth round, but unfortunately had to retire from the Round of 16 contest due to health reasons. She has more than made up for it in her second Grand Slam. Can the youngest Grand Slam finalist since 2004 and the youngest U.S. Open finalist since 1999 go on to achieve the unthinkable on Saturday?
Fernandez v Raducanu Prediction and Tip
Fernandez is the higher-ranked player, has more experience and has beaten three of the top five in the world in the tournament, so she will be the favourite despite Raducanu’s dominance over the last nine matches.
Also, the fact that Raducanu has not been tested in the tournament may go against her in the final. The way Fernandez has matured as a player during the course of the tournament, it won’t be easy for the Briton to beat her in straight sets and if it does go the distance there are few points for guessing who will be in the box seat.