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Raducanu routs Sakkari to set up hard-to-believe US Open final against Fernandez

Emma Raducanu continues her perfect trek through the US Open draw with a straight-set victory over Maria Sakkari on Thursday. Raducanu will battle fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez for the title.

Emma Raducanu by Geoff Burke / AI / Reuters / Panoramic



  • What happened: Emma Raducanu beat Maria Sakkari in straight sets to become the first qualifier in Open Era history to reach a Grand Slam final.
  • You will also learn: Raducanu has not dropped a single set through nine US Open matches (three in qualifying).
  • Why you should read this: It sets up a historic and improbable all-teenager final between Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez.

It will be teenager against teenager in the US Open final.

Emma Raducanu set up a shocking — but also blockbuster — title match with Leylah Fernandez by upsetting Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4 in the second semi-final on Thursday night. Remaining in ruthless form, Raducanu did not drop serve a single time, hit about half as few unforced errors as Sakkari (17 to 33), and won eight of nine net points while prevailing in one hour and 23 minutes.

Raducanu perfect in sets en route to US Open final

Most competitors play only six matches to reach a Grand Slam final. Raducanu, however, is the first qualifier ever to reach the title match at a major. Thus she has played nine matches in New York, but not once has she dropped a single set. The 18-year-old has routed all nine opponents in swift fashion; in fact, nobody in the main draw has even taken more than four games in any set.

Although Sakkari managed to get four in the second set on Thursday, this match was never competitive. Raducanu raced to leads of 5-0 in the opening frame of play and 3-1 in set two. Sakkari did well to hold her last three service games, but the 11th-seeded Greek never could break her opponent’s serve. Raducanu saved all seven of the break points she faced throughout the contest.

Emma Raducanu - US Open
Emma Raducanu – 2021 US Open

Second slam semi-final loss for Sakkari

Sakkari also lost in the French Open semis, as she came within one point of the final before going down to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova.

“I think I fought until the last point,” the 26-year-old said following her loss to Raducanu. “It’s tough to get yourself back in the match when nothing is going right and everything is going very good for the opponent. It’s just that my serve was not there. My groundstrokes. I was missing a lot, which is not very natural for me. I think I did not handle the pressure of playing another semifinal once again. It happens. It’s human emotions.

“I’m a person that [needs] my time. I’m 26. It’s not like I’m their age (or) had big results at that age. I always need to go step by step. My career so far has been a marathon, not a sprint. I’m just going to accept what happened today. That gives me even more power to go back on court and practice even more.”

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