At just 17 years old, Emma Raducanu of Greensboro, N.C., will become the youngest women’s singles finalist at the U.S. Open in 29 years when she matches up against US Open junior champion Leylah Fernandez of Chicago Thursday. The last to do so was Monica Seles, who is still only 24.
Raducanu has looked like a Grand Slam threat all week. The Virginia Beach, Va., product crushed a ranked player, number 47 Tatjana Maria, in the Round of 16 and another, France’s Yves Allegro, in the Quarterfinals, before topping Pauline Parmentier, a top 20 player last year, in four sets in the semis. Her 3-hour, 39-minute victory on Monday over 15th-seeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia was the longest U.S. Open match of the day.
Both Raducanu and Fernandez have advanced to the final with wins over seeded players. Fernandez, 18, downed Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia in straight sets in the semifinals, while Raducanu rallied in the third set of her match to secure her berth in the final. Their match is at 8:00 a.m. in Ashe Stadium. Raducanu beat Fernandez on her way to becoming US Open junior champion.
“I’m looking forward to being on Ashe,” Raducanu said, according to the New York Post. “I like playing on a big court, and I play well under pressure.”
Fernandez, who won a Challenger event in Canada earlier this year, fell to Raducanu in the junior singles semifinals at Wimbledon this year.
“Emma (Raducanu) is just so focused and so focused on her game,” Fernandez said to the Post. “This is the first time I’ve played someone who plays like this and has such a love for the game like she does. I’m really excited to play her. I just think she’s going to be the match.”