Emma Raducanu Becomes First Qualifier Ever to Reach a Grand Slam final at 18 Years Only

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It seems like the British teen Emma Raducanu is set to create history on many levels! The 18-year-old sports star has become the first-ever qualifier, male or female, to make it to the final of a Grand Slam event. Raducanu, who is from Orpington, bested the 17th seed Maria Sakkari from Greek in the semi-final at the US Open. She broke records defeating her opponent in less than 90 minutes, winning 6-1 and 6-4.

The player achieved an astounding feat; she was ranked No. 10th in Britain while her global ranking was No.336th at the start of Wimbledon. It is incredible to see that Raducanu is playing so well, despite the fact that it’s just her second Grand Slam event.

Raducanu is the first British woman to reach the Grand Slam final after Virginia Wade, who won the Wimbledon 44 years back in 1977. She will now be competing against the 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, who is a Canadian unseeded player. The match will take place at 9 pm UK time on Saturday night. You can watch it on ESPN as well.

This time, many aspects of the match are not what the audiences usually expect. For example, another history-changing point this year is that after the 1999 US Open, it will be the first Grand Slam final between two teenagers. The 1999 match was played between Serena Williams and Martina Hingis. Williams took the trophy home.

Another unique thing about the final is that it will be the first-ever men’s or women’s major final featuring two unseeded players in the history of the Open era, which began in 1968.

Raducanu’s position will change, making her the British No.1 while also making her global position skip rapidly from No.336th to at the very least No.35th.

Surprisingly she hasn’t dropped even a single set in the tournament so far and has also overpowered her much more experienced opponent, Sakkari, in the semi-final. The match between the two was very interesting to watch as Raducanu’s game was so good that at times it was almost unbelievable how the British teenager tackled her opponent. She has broken a list of records with her impeccable display of talent and skill achieving feats such as:

  1. The first qualifier – man or woman – to reach a Grand Slam final
  2. The first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 44 years
  3. The first British woman to reach a US Open final in 53 years
  4. The youngest British player to reach a Grand Slam final in 62 years

If she wins the final, she will become the first British female to win the US Open since Wade in 1968. Again shockingly, she hasn’t lost even a single set all through her journey to the finals and has only dropped 27 games in the six matches that she has played. And of course, with achieving so much comes great prize money as well. Raducanu is guaranteed a prize of $1.25m for reaching the finals, and if she wins, which seems to be probable, she could bank in $2.5m.

The British teenager said on court,

Honestly, the time here in New York has gone so fast. I’ve just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I’m in the final. I can’t actually believe it. Today I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except for myself. While I have the moment, I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support. Since I’ve been here from the first round of the qualities I’ve had unbelievable support.

Tim Henman, former British No.1, called Raducanu’s semi-final performance “simply stunning.” He further commented to Amazon Prime,

It’s an absolutely staggering performance, if we just look at the way she came out and played, her quality of tennis from start to finish, she was so resilient. She never flinched. She never let up. It was relentless. And then you’ve got to throw in the scenario of being a qualifier, an 18-year-old, with all the legends who have ever played this game at grand slam level. She is the first person to qualify and reach the final. It’s simply stunning. She deserves all the credit in the world. On the biggest stage in our sport at every opportunity, she plays on her terms. It’s incredible to watch.

Mohid Moosani

Moosani is a night owl who is either binge watching his favorite shows or scribbling on his notebook writing short stories. Often showing up late at work and gulping down 6-7 cups of coffee is his usual practice.

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