Emma Raducanu books place in US Open final after dominant win over Maria Sakkari

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·2-min read
Emma Raducanu books place in US Open final after dominant win over Maria Sakkari
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Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier in history to reach a Grand Slam final with another blistering display at the US Open.

The 18-year-old continued her remarkable run at the US Open as she defeated No17 seed Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 to become the first British woman since 1977 to reach the final of a major.

It was apt that the last person to achieve that feat, Virginia Wade, should again be watching from the stands, Wade having labelled herself Raducanu’s good-luck charm.

On the current evidence, the omens look promising that the teenager can follow her compatriot in winning one of tennis’ big four. She will meet another teenager, Leylah Fernandez, in Saturday’s decider, the first Grand Slam final between teens since Martina Hingis and Serena Williams in 1999.

“Honestly, the time here in New York has gone so fast,” she said following the win. “I’ve just been taking care of each day and, before you know it, I’m in the final and I can’t believe it.”

Having struggled with nerves early in her last two matches, the new British No1 appeared to have similar issues against Sakkari early on.

But she defended seven break points in her opening two service games and won the opening five games in an entirely one-sided first set which lasted a little over half an hour.

The Greek had enjoyed match points in her last Grand Slam semi-final appearance only to falter and promised not to make the same mistake again. Despite a stronger start to the second set, in truth, that was never going to be a realistic prospect.

The aggressive approach, which saw Raducanu come through three rounds of qualifying, was again in abundance as she made Sakkari look lost at times.

As she served out the match, she raised her arms to her head almost in disbelief at the enormity of her achievement, which provisionally takes her now to No31 in the world from the lower reaches of the 300s when handed a Wimbledon wildcard just a few weeks ago.

Of her chances in the final, Raducanu, who still has not dropped a set all tournament, said: “Is there any expectation? I’m a qualifier so technically, on paper, there’s nothing. No pressure on me.”

Earlier, Fernandez was pushed further for her place in the final as she defeated Aryna Sabalenka 7-6, 4-6, 6-4.

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