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Leylah Fernandez ends magical US Open run as runner-up

September 12, 2021 - Sunday 3:09 PM by GDM

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Both teens had a historic US Open run, but it was Britain's Emma Raducanu who prevailed over Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 6-4, 6-3, to win the Grand Slam title on Sunday (Manila time) in New York.

The 18-year-old Raducanu recorded 22 winners against 25 unforced errors while winning the final in one hour, 51 minutes.

The Romanian-Chinese underwent 10 grueling matches, including three wins in qualifying, but and she did it without dropping a single set.

Raducanu became the first ever qualifier to win the US Open championship and the first British woman to claim a major trophy since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.

"As for the three weeks I’ve spent in New York I would say that having such a supportive team like I have over there… everyone in that team and everyone back home who isn’t here but is watching on TV thank you so much," said Raducanu.

"Most of all I would say thank you to everyone here New York thank you all for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match all the way to the final."

On the other hand, the 19-year old Fernandez had 18 winners and 26 unforced errors. 

Fernandez, who is of Filipino and Ecaudorian descent, dropped some jaws at the Arthur Ashe stadium when she outlasted second seeded Aryna Sabalenka, four-time Grand Slam winner and defending champion Naomi Osaka, fifth seed Elina Svitolina, and three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber to enter the finals.

The last time that the US Open finals featured two teenagers match was when Serena Williams (17 years old) defeated Martina Hingis (18 years old) in 1999.

Both Fernandez and Raducanu were unseeded in the world rankings, with the former placed at 73rd while the latter being 150th-ranked.

"I know on this day it was especially hard for New York and everyone around the United States," said Fernandez, commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

"I just want to say that I hope I can be as strong and as resilient as New York has been the past 20 years."

Raducanu started off hot 5-2 lead in the second set, but Fernandez saved two match points to remain alive.

Fernandez set up a break point, but a medical timeout was called as Raducanu sustained a cut in her knee.

Fernadez tried to capitalize on Raducanu's unforced error, but the latter wouldn't allow the Canadian to do so by saving a pair of break points, then converted on her third chance to close it with an ace.