Record-breaking Brit stands on brink of incredible triumph as she becomes first qualifer EVER to reach a Grand Slam final
British sensation Emma Raducanu has become the first qualifier ever – male or female – to reach the final of a Grand Slam event.
The 18-year-old from Orpington blew away Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari in their semi-final at the US Open, winning 6-1, 6-4 in under 90 minutes.
It is an incredible achievement from Raducanu, who was ranked No 10 in Britain and No 336 in the world at the start of Wimbledon and is playing in just her second Grand Slam event.
She is the first British woman in 44 years – since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977 – to reach a Grand Slam final.
Raducanu will meet another unseeded player, 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez, in the showpiece at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night around 9pm UK time.
It will be the first Grand Slam final between two teenagers since the 1999 US Open, when Serena Williams beat Martina Hingis.
Raducanu will now become the British number 1 and at the very least reach the world’s top 35 having broken an array of records with her stunning run in New York.
She has not dropped a single set on her way to the final at Flushing Meadows and simply blew away her more experienced opponent, Sakkari, in their semi-final with a stunning performance that belied belief at times.
Raducanu has achieved the following feats:
- The first qualifier – man or woman – to reach a Grand Slam final
- The first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 44 years
- The first British woman to reach a US Open final in 53 years
- The youngest British player to reach a Grand Slam final in 62 years
Should she triumph in the final, Raducanu will become the first British female winner at the US Open since Wade in 1968.
She is guaranteed a cheque for $1.25m (£900k) for reaching the final – and could bank $2.5m (£1.8m) if she wins.
Incredibly she has not lost a set en route to the final and has dropped just 27 games in her six matches.
Raducanu said on court: “Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast. I’ve just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in final. I can’t actually believe it.
“Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself. While I have the moment I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support.
“Since I’ve been here from the first round of the quallies I’ve had unbelievable support.”
As for her chances in the final? “Is there any expectation? I’m a qualifier so technically there’s no pressure on me,” she added.
What a superstar.