Emma Raducanu is through to her first Grand Slam final.
Emma Raducanu’s dream run at the 2021 US Open continued on Thursday as she scored yet another dominant win in her semi-final encounter against Maria Sakkari.
The Brit produced a fine display of aggressive tennis to fend off the 17th seed 6-1, 6-4 in a match that lasted an hour and 23 minutes. Raducanu was made to work hard in the early stages of the match, but was close to flawless towards the closing stages.
Speaking at her post-match press conference, Raducanu said she knew she had to be “super aggressive” in the match. According to the youngster, she played some of her best tennis against Sakkari on Thursday.
“Honestly I think I played some of my best tennis today, especially here in New York,” Raducanu said. “Yeah, I knew I was going to have to be super aggressive. I managed to execute. So, yeah, I’m just really happy with today’s performance.”
On being asked to reflect on her breakthrough run, Raducanu said she was still in shock as she did not expect to reach a Grand Slam final at such an early stage in her career.
The Brit admitted that while she had a certain amount of belief in her game, she had been skeptical about her ability to maintain her level over longer periods. She added that scoring wins over some of the top names on the tour was “unbelievable”.
“Honestly I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above, the 18-year-old said. But, yeah, it means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted obviously to, like, be playing Grand Slams, but I didn’t know how soon that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this stage of my career, yeah, I have no words.””I personally think inside I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn’t know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets. To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can’t believe it,” she added.
It’s going to be extremely different to when we last encountered each other – Emma Raducanu on facing Leylah Fernandez in the US Open final
Raducanu will take on Leylah Fernandez in an all-teen final on Saturday.
Emma Raducanu will take on Leylah Fernandez in an all-teen final – the first at the US Open since 1999 – on Saturday. This will be the first tour meeting between the two, although they have squared off as juniors before.
During the press conference, Raducanu recalled the time she faced Fernandez in an under-12 tournament and again at the Girls’ singles event at Wimbledon a few years later. However, the Brit conceded that Saturday’s final will be “extremely different” given how far the two have come since their last meeting.
“Yeah, I think it was maybe Orange Bowl, under 12s. It was definitely under 12s. We first encountered each other because I was born in Toronto and she was Canadian, so we kind of, like, made a little relationship back then,” Raducanu said of her first meeting with Fernandez.”But, yeah, then I played her at junior Wimbledon. Obviously since then we’ve both come very far in our games and as people,” she added. “Yeah, I’m sure it’s going to be extremely different to when we last encountered each other.”
Raducanu is expecting a tough fight in Saturday’s final, but is confident of her chances of lifting the trophy.
“But, yeah to play Leylah on Saturday, it will be a tough match for sure. She’s playing great tennis. But I think I’m also playing very good tennis. Yeah, I’m excited to go out there. I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere for both of us,” Raducanu added.