Emma Raducanu's stunned reaction to winning her US Open semi-final
Emma Raducanu's stunned reaction to winning her US Open semi-final

US Open: Britain's Emma Raducanu becomes first qualifier in tennis history to reach a Grand Slam final

British teenage sensation Emma Raducanu has become the first qualifier in tennis history to reach a Grand Slam final.

The 18-year-old upset the odds yet again in her fairytale of New York to defeat Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-4 and also become Britain's first female to reach a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

She is one win away – against fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez of Canada – from becoming the first British female winner at Flushing Meadows since Wade in 1968.

Incredibly she has not lost a set en route to the final and has dropped just 27 games in her six matches.

Two months after bursting onto the scene at Wimbledon ranked 361st in the world, a month after receiving her A level results, and 13 days after entering qualifying in New York, the 18-year-old from Orpington stands on the brink of one of the most remarkable sporting achievements of all time.

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.

Raducanu is now the bookies favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award which is incredible when you think a few months ago, the British publish wouldn't have even known who she was.

Striding into the vast Arthur Ashe Stadium looking for all the world as if she was about to knock up at Bromley Tennis Centre, Raducanu took immediate control of the biggest match of her short career.

She saved seven break points in her first two service games while breaking 26-year-old Sakkari to 15 to secure a 3-0 lead.

A change of skirt for Sakkari did not have the desired effect as she dropped serve again, and in the blink of an eye the first set had run away from the world number 18.

An early break in the second kept Sakkari at bay and only an extraordinary rally at break point prevented Raducanu from taking a 5-2 lead.

No matter. Two service holds and a delicious volley on match point later and Raducanu had completed the latest stride in her improbable march towards sporting immortality.

Fernandez, 19, also continued her sensational run by knocking out second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 4-6 6-4 and although this is her seventh Grand Slam, she'd never previously gone beyond the third round of any of them.

It will be the first all-teen final at the US Open since 1999 when Serena Williams, 17, defeated 18-year-old Martina Hingis.

Emma Raducanu's US Open run

  • R1: 6-2 6-3 v Stefanie Voegele (world number 128) - 1hr 18 mins
  • R2: 6-2 6-4 v Shuai Zhang (world number 49) - 1hr 22 mins
  • R3: 6-0 6-1 v Sara Sorribes Tormo (world number 41) - 1hr 10 mins
  • R4: 6-2 6-1 v Shelby Rogers (world number 43) - 1hr 06 mins
  • QF: 6-3 6-4 v Belinda Bencic (world number 12 & Olympic champion) - 1hr 22 mins
  • SF: 6-1 6-4 v Maria Sakkari (world number 18) - 1hr 24 mins

Leyla Fernandez's US Open run

  • R1: 7-6 6-2 v Ana Konjuh (world number 88) - 1hr 45 mins
  • R2: 7-5 7-5 v Kaia Kanepi (world number 70) - 1hr 56 mins
  • R3: 5-7 7-6 6-4 v Naomi Osaka (world number 3 & two-time US Open champion) - 2hrs 04 mins
  • R4: 4-6 7-6 6-2 v Angelique Kerber (world number 17) - 2hr 15 mins
  • QF: 6-2 3-6 7-6 v Elina Svitolina (world number 5) - 2hrs 24 mins
  • SF: 7-6 4-6 6-4 v Aryna Sabalenka (world number 2) - 2hrs 21 mins

Emma Raducanu's history-making achievements

  • First qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final ever
  • First woman since Pam Shriver (1978) to reach a Grand Slam final as early as the second attempt
  • Fourth woman to reach US Open on debut (Shriver 1978, Venus Williams 1997, Bianca Andreescu 2019)
  • Youngest Grand Slam finalist since Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004
  • First British woman to reach Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.
  • First British woman to reach US Open final since Virginia Wade won it in 1968
  • Only the fourth different British woman to contest a Grand Slam final in the Open Era (Virginia Wade, US Open winner 1968, Aussie Open winner 1972, Wimbledon winner 1977; Ann Haydon-Jones French Open runner up in 1968 & 1969, Wimbledon winner 1969; Sue Barker French Open winner 1976)
  • Therefore just the eighth time a British woman has been in a Grand Slam final in the Open era.
  • Raducanu was ranked 361 in June before her Wimbledon run and now she'll be up to a high of 31
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