US Open Women’s Final 2021: A One for the History Books

Emma v Leylah

On one hand is an 18-year-old who made her debut at the highest level of professional tennis only in June this year. On the other side is another teenager who has left in her wake, a string of defeats in New York which entails two of the world’s top five and a former Grand Slam winner.

Looking to watch the 2021 US Open live streaming online?

  • Watch the Raducanu v Fernandez final live streaming here.

Such is the stage set for the US Open Women’s Final in 2021 between Emma Raducanu of Great Britain and Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez.

It has been an incredible fortnight for the two youngsters and now, they convene in the final major of the year- and possibly set the course for the next season.

Raducanu, Making History in New York

It has been a time of the firsts for the young Raducanu.

To begin with, she is the first British woman to compete in a Grand Slam final since 1977 – almost 44 years ago. It was the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II and she was in attendance at that Wimbledon women’s final between Virginia Wade and Betty Stove. Wade received the trophy in front of the Queen and it was the last time that a British woman competed in a major final in the Open Era.

At least until the match on Saturday when Emma Raducanu takes on the almost-packed Arthur Ashe Stadium in the evening. And for what it’s worth, a bit of history is on her side to win.

For one, there are several instances where the underdogs have come out of nowhere to upset the order and take the winner’s trophy home. Serena Williams did it in the 2007 Australian Open when she was the World No. 81 and entered the tournament battling a string of bad form and injuries. A decade later, the likes of Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens conquered Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows respectively (Stephens started in the draw under the protected ranking provision for long-term injured players).

Secondly, in the one and only time she met Fernandez on the court was at the SW19 in the girls’ junior draw in 2018. Raducanu defeated the then 11th seed 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals and lose to eventual champion Iga Swiatek.

But more than that, who doesn’t love a good underdog story? It’s not every day you see an 18-year-old ranked #150, who started in the qualifying draw, now set to compete for a prize that most pros spend their entire careers chasing.

And it’s not like she hasn’t proven her mettle this season – a five-time ITF finalist (three wins, two losses), she reached the fourth round in this year’s Wimbledon and later, was the runner-up in the WTA125 Series event in Chicago.

Then in New York over the last 18 odd days or so, she has defeated nine players without losing a single set to reach the final. How do you not root for that?

But at the risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, Raducanu is still inexperienced – at least when compared to her Canadian counterpart.

Looking to watch the 2021 US Open live streaming online?

  • Watch the Raducanu v Fernandez final live streaming here.

Fernandez’s Success has been Long in the Making

What makes this US Open final interesting is the fact that even though Leylah Ann Fernandez is just 19, she has impressed multiple times in the past with her breathtaking ingenuity to make shots and trouble her opponents. In all fairness, there were signs that sooner or later, she would put up a run like this.

As a junior, she reached the final at 2019 Australian Open and that very same year, won the Roland Garros. In 2020, she made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open. A few weeks later, reached the final at the Mexican Open to settle for her first WTA trophy of any kind. Following a pandemic disrupted season, Fernandez ended the season with a third-round appearance at the French Open.

This year, she won her first singles trophy at the WTA Monterrey. However, Fernandez’s continued struggles with inconsistency still kept her outside the mix (or the top 70 in this case).

But all that has changed over the last 15 days or so as she defeated some of the world’s best to reach the historic final – a first such occurrence in New York since 1999. In that epic match more than 20 years ago, it was Serena Williams and Martina Hingis, taking on the world to write history themselves. And by the looks of it, it is Fernandez’s turn now.

With a sharp left hand and an innate ability to create shots that other southpaws like Rafael Nadal, Petra Kvitova, Martina Navratilova, and John McEnroe have enjoyed, Fernandez has taken the courts by storm in New York. She has exuded discipline and handled herself beautifully under pressure to stage comebacks like no other.

Case in point – on Monday, she celebrated her 19th birthday. In the following days, she knocked out Elina Svitolina and the No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Who knows what will happen on Saturday? Raducanu seems to have that touch of destiny that can help her finally bring home a major and make her country proud. On the other hand, Fernandez is turning out to be one of the many teenage prodigies who can possibly go further when many at her place couldn’t.

Whatever may be the case, it is going to be an epic thriller.

Looking to watch the 2021 US Open live streaming online?

  • Watch the Raducanu v Fernandez final live streaming here.

About Chirag Dubey 1035 Articles
Chirag is a Bengaluru-based tennis fan and writer who brings as much love for the women’s game to the table as food.