What Emma Raducanu said before championship point vs Leylah Fernandez at US Open
Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open
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Emma Raducanu has revealed what was going through her mind during her championship point at the US Open. The Brit made history as the first-ever qualifier to win a Grand Slam when she lifted the trophy in Flushing Meadows two weeks ago, beating fellow-teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez 6-4 6-3 in the final.
Raducanu achieved the impossible earlier this month when she became the first qualifier in history to make a Grand Slam final at the US Open, and went one better by winning the title.
The 18-year-old failed to drop a set through three qualifying rounds and seven main-draw matches en route to her first title, and also became the only player to ever have won the tournament in just her second appearance at Major level.
She came to New York at a then-career high of world No 150 after making her maiden final at WTA 125k level at the Chicago Challenger, giving her confidence going into the qualifying event, and made it to the main draw of a Grand Slam for only the second time, having received a wild card into Wimbledon earlier this year.
The Bromley resident then reeled off a series of impressive wins against some top 50 opponents before overcoming the likes of recent gold medallist Belinda Bencic and 17th seed Maria Sakkari to make the final.
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Although the scoreline looked slightly one-sided, Raducanu’s toughest match came in the final against Fernandez, who herself had a fairytale run in Flushing Meadows.
The Canadian came into the tournament ranked down at No 73 in the world and beat defending champion Naomi Osaka, three-time Grand Slam champion Angie Kerber, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and second seed Aryna Sabalenka before falling to Raducanu in the final.
The championship match reached a dramatic conclusion when, after failing to convert match points on her opponent’s serve, Raducanu slipped and cut her knee while serving for the title, prompting the umpire to call an immediate medical time out as Fernandez received her first break point of the match.
After being forced to sit and receive treatment for several minutes in line with the official rules on bleeding on court, the 18-year-old stepped up and managed to save break point, before finding herself with the first championship point on her own serve.
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An ace sealed the historic victory for Raducanu, and ended a 44-year wait for a female British Grand Slam champion.
Now, the new world No 22 has opened up on exactly what was running through her mind ahead of the most important point in her career so far.
“The funny thing is, before the serve – I had missed the serve I took the whole match, so the flat-wide on the ad, I think I hit it in the net every single time the whole match,” she said, during an LTA homecoming event thrown to celebrate the British success at the US Open.
“And before I went out I was like, ‘you know what, I’m gonna go for it and I’m gonna hit an ace, like I’m going to hit an ace’ so I actually said that in my head and I thought it was gonna happen so I’m just so happy [during the championship point] and I drove my legs up like never before.”
The newly-crowned champion also admitted that she had been aiming to hit an ace to save herself from getting tight in a rally on championship point.
She continued: “Well, I was actually, because I had two match points before and I lost both, but when you have a match point and it’s in the rally you get a bit nervous and tight on your shots so I was like ‘the best way to do this is to hit an ace, you don’t have to hit any shots after that’.
“So I was just trying to take it all in and emotions just came out, it was just so good to go to the box afterwards.
“It’s something that since I was a little kid I’ve always wanted to do and dream of, of just going to the box after winning a Slam and I’m just so happy I managed to.”
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