Emma Raducanu has won the US Open women’s singles, beating Leylah Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3, in a match of extraordinary intensity. After coming through qualifying to win, an unprecedented achievement, the 18-year-old Briton did not drop a set throughout the tournament.
Raducanu served first, holding to 30. In a marathon second game, Fernandez recovered from 0-40 to deuce, saved two more break points, missed chances to hold serve and ultimately was broken. But Raducanu came up with a double fault in a tight third game and was unable to consolidate her advantage. The first three games had taken 23 minutes.
This set the stage for a first set of high quality. It stayed on serve until the 10th game, despite both players having openings. Raducanu, at 5-4 up, had two set points at 15-40 on the Fernandez serve, and two more after Fernandez, 19, fought back to deuce. Finally, at the fifth opportunity, the Briton took the set 6-4.
Raducanu held serve at the start of the second set and then raced to 0-40. But Fernandez won five points in a row and eight out of nine to set up two break points of her own. Raducanu withstood those and had game point for 2-1, but faltered and was broken.
The 18-year-old responded immediately, however, breaking to 30 and then holding her own serve to lead 3-2. She then moved quickly to 15-40 on the Fernandez serve and a powerful forehand pass took the second of the break points for a 4-2 lead.
Raducanu held serve to lead 5-2. She had a championship point at 30-40 in the next game and another at advantage but Fernandez denied her, forcing the Briton to serve for the match at 5-3.
Fernandez took the first point of the next game and at 15-30 was too strong when Raducanu came into the net. She took control of the next point to have a chance to break and Raducanu needed treatment for a cut just below her left knee, sustained sliding for the ball. Fernandez was frustrated by the medical timeout at a key moment. When play resumed she went long but Raducanu then did likewise after Fernandez came up with a lob that forced the Briton back.
Raducanu responded with a clever overhead to get back to deuce then set up another championship point, the first on her own serve. She aced it, to become the first British woman to win a grand slam since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977. Wade was in the stands to see Raducanu make history.