British teenager Emma Raducanu is into the final of the women’s singles at the US Open in New York. The 18 year old beat Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows and will now face another teenager, Canadian Leylah Fernandez, in Saturday’s decider.
Raducanu faced three break points in her opening service game and four in her second against Maria Sakkari. She led 3-0, and then she broke again. She did not cede, and she broke Sakkari in between. She led 3-0, and then she broke again.
By the 30-minute mark, this year’s sixth-best player on the WTA tour this year had still not registered on the scoreboard. Sakkari held at the third time of asking, but Raducanu has made a habit of making big moments look routine, and she held to 15 to seal the first set in just 37 minutes.
Sakkari held to love in the second set’s opening game, but it did not take long for Raducanu to turn the screw again. In just 12 matches on tour — all of which have come this year — Raducanu has developed a reputation for being an incredible returner. An aggressive backhand from the teen secured another break.
Leading 3-1, the world No.150 had two points for a double break, but Sakkari reeled off four successive points to stay within touching distance of her opponent. A weaker player’s nerves might have shown at that point. Raducanu held to love, before failing to convert on five more breakpoints. Then she held again. And again.
Awaiting Raducanu in the final is another teenager, the Canadian Leylah Fernandez, after she overcame Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka in a gruelling three-setter.
Fernandez’s run to the final has been even more impressive than Raducanu’s, with third seed Naomi Osaka, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and 2016 US Open winner Angelique Kerber all falling to the 19-year-old.