The final of the US Open between 19-year-old Canadian Leila Fernandez and 18-year-old Emma Radukanu could not have been imagined by anyone, but it happened: in the semifinals, the teenagers beat the second number of the WTA Arina Sobolenko and 17-seeded Maria Sakkari. Here are the numbers, facts, and quotes from the strange ending.
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Both did not have a simple grid, as, for example, a year ago with Alexander Zverev or in 2021 with Daniil Medvedev. Starting from the third round, Fernandez passed Naomi Osaka (number three), Angelique Kerber (number 17) and Elina Svitolina (number five), Radukanu knocked out Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, who is ranked 12th.
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The finalists themselves are the 73rd and 150th rackets of the world. Radukanu holds only the second “Helmet” in the starting line: she got to Wimbledon thanks to a wild card (and reached the fourth round), and at the US Open she made her way through qualifications.
For the first time in the Open Era, the “Grand Slam” will be played by the unseeded – this has never happened before for women or men. Radukanu is the first player in history to qualify for the Major’s final. And for the first time since 1999, tennis players under 20 will play in the Slam final – 22 years ago, 17-year-old Serena Williams beat 18-year-old Martina Hingis at the US Open.
Who said what
“I focus on each specific day,” said Emma Radukanu after the match. – And then suddenly I reached the final. I can’t even believe it. The Arthur Ashe Arena Evening Match is one of the most outstanding events in tennis. I was just happy to go out on the court and play in front of the audience. “
When asked about expectations from the final, she answered with a laugh: “Are there any expectations? I am a qualifier – formally nothing is expected of me. “
“This result is years and years of hard work, tears, blood, everything else. On the court, outside the court. Victims. I just really wanted to reach the final. And I don’t care who I meet there. I just want to play the final, ”said Leila Fernandez.
Her rival in the semifinals, Belarusian Arina Sobolenko, in the first set was leading with a score of 4: 1, had a set point and was leading with a mini-break in a tie-break, but lost the game.
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