Champion baby

Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernández play this Saturday (22:00, Eurosport), against all odds, a baby final of the US Open Not even the world number one, Ashleigh Barty, nor the current champion, Naomi Osaka, among other favorites. This is women’s tennis in recent seasons, anything can happen and very often there is a new Grand Slam champion. This time it will be the 18-year-old British or the 19-year-old Canadian recently completed, they will play the youngest final of the tournament since 1999, which faced Serena Williams (18) and Martina Hingis (19), with a victory for the American.

Raducanu’s case is particularly striking, because the young woman born in Toronto (Canada) but raised in Bromley (England) From the age of two, of a Romanian father and Chinese mother, she made history by becoming the first tennis player, male or female, to reach the final of a major since the previous one. When she arrived in New York two weeks ago it was her 150th and she had only played 11 WTA matches, four of them at Wimbledon. Now he is up for the Grand Slam title without having lost a set in nine games and having given up just 27 games in the six in the main draw.

With that feeling of dominance, she beat Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals, the 26-year-old Greek and 18th in the ranking who is going through her best moment. Raducanu has a backhand that is a mine and plays with an astonishing calm. “Today I have not thought of anyone but me,” she confessed when asked if what Fernández had achieved had inspired her. And he showed what mental paste is made of: “I have no pressure, I started in the previous one, so …”. In Britain they are enthusiastic about it. Former tennis player Tim Henman follows her in New York, where the last US Open champion (1968) of her same nationality, Virginia Wade, also sees her triumph. With a retreating Andy Murray, he’s the star they’ve been waiting for.

Like from another era

On the other side of the court will be Fernández, 73rd in the world, a native of Montreal, daughter of a former Ecuadorian soccer player who is also his coach, Jorge Fernández, and that he married a Canadian of Filipino origin. Hence her peculiar ethnicity, something that connects her a lot with Raducanu. While the Englishwoman had an easier path to practically the quarterfinals, when she crossed paths with Olympic champion Bencic, Leylah’s was not at all easy. To reach the final he had to eliminate Konjuh, Kanepi, Osaka, Kerber, Svitolina and, finally, Aryna Sabalenka, the number three in the world, who was a nervous wreck and missed the best chance of her life by losing by 6-7 (3), 4-6 and 6-4 at 2:21. Fernández emulated his compatriot Andreescu, who at the same age reached the final in 2019 (later he won it). “This is the fruit of years and years of hard work and tears on and off the track,” he said before pointing out something important., how much he enjoys: “I have met Billie Jean King, Juan Martín del Potro, Steve Nash is in my box. He is a great inspiration, my father used him as an example ”, he said about the former NBA player and his countryman. Emma and Leylah have the whole world at their feet and they remember players from other times, also precocious and competitive, such as Serena Williams, Sharapova, Hingis, Graf, Seles and Sánchez Vicario.

Results, table and schedules.

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