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Raducanu on reaching US Open final: “I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy.”

Emma Raducanu made history by beating Maria Sakkari on Thursday.

Emma Raducanu Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu is only 18 years old. She is ranked No 150 in the world. She did not even have direct entry into the US Open main draw.

Nonetheless, Raducanu finds herself in a most improbable Grand Slam final against Leylah Fernandez after the Brit beat Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Thursday night. Not even Raducanu herself can believe it.

“A surprise,” she responded when asked how she would describe what she has achieved so far in New York. “Yeah, honestly I just can’t believe it. A shock. Crazy. All of the above.

“But it means a lot to be here in this situation. I wanted obviously to be playing Grand Slams, but I didn’t know how soon that would be. To be in a Grand Slam final at this stage of my career, yeah, I have no words.”

Raducanu vs. Fernandez a fascinating final matchup

Raducanu’s appearance in the title match is not where the surprises end. Fernandez is also a teenager; she just turned 19 earlier this week.

The similarities between the two finalists are almost eerie. Ranked No 73 in the world, Fernandez’s run to championship Saturday also came completely out of nowhere. There are off-the-court similarities, as well. Both women were born in Canada to Asian mothers and have since moved to other countries. Raducanu lives in London, while Fernandez — who plays under the Canadian flag — resides in Florida.

Despite being British, Raducanu certainly doesn’t forget her roots.

“I think for me having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work (and) discipline,” said the recent fourth-round performer at Wimbledon. “I think for me when I was younger I would take a lot of inspiration from Li Na, even now just the way she was such a fierce competitor. I think all her belief, she had extremely good weapons, her movement, her mentality, but her inner strength and belief really stood out for me. I remember watching her play (Francesca) Schiavone in French Open final. That was definitely a long, tough match. But the amount of mental strength and resilience she showed, that match still sticks in my head today.”

I think for me having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work (and) discipline.

Emma Raducanu

You can also be sure that Canadians will tune into Saturday’s final.

“It definitely means a lot to have support from Canada,” Raducanu added. “I was born there. I lived there for a couple years before I moved to London. I have a Canadian passport.

“To have that support definitely means a lot. But, yeah to play Leylah on Saturday, it will be a tough match for sure. She’s playing great tennis. But I think I’m also playing very good tennis. Yeah, I’m excited to go out there. I’m sure there will be a good atmosphere for both of us.”

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