|place: Flushing Meadows, New York date: August 30 – September 12|
|coverage: Daily radio commentary on the BBC Radio 5 Live / BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and matching reports on the website and app|
Emma Radocano ended Britain’s 44-year wait for the Women’s Grand Slam singles title when she defeated Leila Fernandez to win the US Open in super exciting style.
The 18-year-old ended her incredible run in New York with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over her 19-year-old Canadian opponent in a high-quality final.
Radokano threw herself to the ground in disbelief as she shot an ace to conclude what had been the most amazing trip.
Raducanu served for the match at 5-3 but cut her leg when a break point fell, resulting in a medical timeout and visibly angry Fernandes expressed her frustration with the match official.
However, Raducanu ignored the delay, and saved another stopping point before closing in on her third championship point.
The two shared a warm hug before Radocano climbed the stairs at Arthur Ashe Stadium to celebrate her support fund.
Raducanu was hailed by Virginia Wade, who was the last British woman to win a major trophy at Wimbledon in 1977.
“The presence of Virginia Wade here and Tim Henman means a lot,” Radocano said in her court statement.
“They are British icons and to me, following in their footsteps gave me faith that I could do it.”
With victory, Raducanu becomes:
- First British woman to win Flushing Meadows since Virginia Wade in 1968
- The first qualifier in the Open Era to win the four championships
- Youngest Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004
- Youngest Briton to win a Grand Slam title
- First woman to win the US Open without dropping a set since Serena Williams in 2014
She will take home £1.8m in prize money, rise to 23rd in the world rankings and become first in Britain on Monday.
Raducanu will also know she starred in one of the biggest moments in British sports history – and captured the imaginations of fans at home and in New York.
The rise and rise of Raducanu
just awesome. silly. meteorite; unbelievable. Take your pick – but no word can truly sum up what Raducanu has achieved.
Two weeks ago, Raducanu booked a flight back to the UK, just in case she couldn’t qualify in New York. Seventeen days later, she raised the cup before a raging crowd.
Raducanu didn’t just come through the playoffs: she dominated the tournament. Most of the matches she has lost in one set in her entire New York career – five matches – came in the second round of the playoffs.
Not only did Raducanu continue to win, but she did so with such dominance. She didn’t drop a set en route to the final, despite meeting Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and qualifier Maria Sakkari on the way.
In the big moments, she kept her nerve, confident in her strength and serving, even when she saw two championship points in the final.
This is the guy who, two months ago, was collecting her A-Level results. She debuted in the WTA main draw only in June. It all happened so quickly, yet Raducanu didn’t seem to have one.
With all the attention on Raducanu after Wimbledon – plus questions from some about her mental strength – she could easily have been overwhelmed.
Instead, confident in herself, she hired a new coach at Andrew Richardson and went to America to play in various events.
Nobody could see this coming. Not the ease with which Raducanu brushes her opponents aside, or the calmness with which she will approach each match.
But Raducanu is always safe. She will leave New York as the US Open champion.
“Almost perfect performance” – analysis
Former British number one Laura Robson on BBC Radio 5 Live: “There are a lot of sliding door moments. Before Wimbledon, Emma didn’t have a major draw. Would she be in that position if they didn’t promote him? Would that happen if she didn’t have to retire from the fourth round with breathing issues?”
“She gave an almost perfect performance in her first Grand Slam final. You have to think there will be a lot.”
Pat Cash, former Wimbledon champion: “I can’t believe it. No one had heard of him in the qualifiers to win the US Open. Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon as a substitute but he had already made it to Wimbledon, never to play again in Grand Slams.
“She hits so cleanly. I can’t come up with a reason why this is happening. It doesn’t make sense at all. Her performance is mind-boggling.”
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller: “I’ve never seen anything like this before and I think if I worked in this business for another 20 years, I wouldn’t see anything like it.”
nerves? What nerves?
The full Arthur Ashe Stadium – which seats approximately 24,000 people – is one of the most intimidating scenes in tennis, but none of the players seemed to be alarmed as they emerged on the biggest stage of their football career.
Fernandez had more fan support, given that she ousted the second, third and fifth seed in New York, but there was still good support for Radocano.
The first three matches lasted 23 minutes, the two players demonstrated a devastating combination of punches across the courts and fiery returns, swapping breaks as they found their footing.
As she did throughout the tournament, Raducanu jumped from 0-30 multiple times, moved forward, played more aggressively and found her first serve.
This gave her the confidence to attack Fernandez’s second serve and put herself in the lead. She closed the first group with a forehand stroke on the line, turned and clenched her fist toward her chest before yelling “Come on!” to the crowd as they rose to applaud.
Fernandez showed persistence throughout the tournament and did so here, saving three break points in her first match to prevent Raducanu from a 2-0 lead in the second.
Then she spotted the break, and adapted to hit Raducanu’s serve better, and momentum seemed to sway the young Canadian’s way.
However, there’s a reason Raducanu didn’t drop a set in New York. At the change she sat quietly with her eyes closed, before increasing her pace again and creating an opportunity for a break.
She broke off the match shot – a stunning forehand pass, made almost from outside the field, that left Fernandes stuck in the net.
Championship points came and went on Fernandes’ serve, saving them again with gritty strikes, but Radocano didn’t falter despite sustaining a agonizing leg wound when slipping behind the baseline.
It was an odd reprieve in what was an entertainment final that proved the future of women’s tennis is bright.