NEW YORK: British 18-year-old Emma Radacanu achieved one of the the most astonishing triumphs of any young tennis player in the game’s modern era by winning the United States in New York.
A day which had begun with sombre memorials on the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11 ended with a positive note of triumph after a magnificent final between two players – Radacanu and Canada’s Leylah Fernandez – who were not born back in 2001.
Radacanu became the first qualifier ever to win one of the four majors in what was only her second grand slam tournment after her emergence at Wimbledon this summer. She did not drop one set in her seven matches and became the first British winner since Virginia Wade in 1968.
She defeated Fernandez, the Canadian 19-year-old, by 6-4, 6-3 after overcaming a cut knee which needed a medical time-out late in the second set, The injury required a plaster on the cut and was probably more of a hindrance for Fernandez who had regained momentum and already staved off Championship points.
Radacanu said: “Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight . . . I knew I would have to dig deep.
“I fell somehow and thought that would throw me off balance – I was praying not for a double fault! We got through it and focused on the process and mindset, that really helped in those tough times.
“When I came out it was business as usual, one point at a time. I had to fight really hard to cling on to that first set and then just try to keep my nose in front in the second.”
Radacanu thus became the youngest women’s slam champion since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004, the youngest Briton to win a grand slam title and the 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 23 in the world rankings and will become the British No1 on Monday.
Along the way the Ontario-born daughter of a Romanian father and Chinese mother she also passed her school A-level examinations as well as her driving test. The family came to the UK when she was two years old.
Tributes were led by a congratulatory message from the Queen who wrote: “I send my congratulations to you on your success. “It is a remarkable achievement at such a young age, and is testament to your hard work and dedication.
“I have no doubt your outstanding performance, and that of your opponent Leylah Fernandez, will inspire the next generation of tennis players.”