Two rising tennis stars of Asian descent — Emma Raducanu, 18, and Leylah Fernandez, 19 — are now both a win away from the U.S. Open final.
Teens take the stage: Raducanu defeated an Olympic champion on Wednesday, while Fernandez outperformed two former Grand Slam winners in earlier stages of the U.S. Open before advancing to the semifinals.
- Their quarterfinal victories mark the first time since 2009 that two teenagers have entered the U.S. Open semifinal round.
- As they make their individual histories, both players are turning heads and earning new fans.
Anyone else love to see a Raducanu vs Fernandez final 🙋🏼♀️🔥
— Katie Boulter (@katiecboulter) September 8, 2021
If you haven’t seen the most exciting player at the US Open, 19-year old Leylah Fernandez, you’re truly missing out!! She just beat her 3rd ranked opponent and is on fire 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥. She’s captivating the world! @leylahfernandez
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 7, 2021
— sloanestephens (@SloaneStephens) September 7, 2021
— Dan Walker (@mrdanwalker) September 9, 2021
What was expected to be a so-so #USOpen could be perhaps the most exciting in years! Leylah is not alone in unexpected surprises: #EmmaRaducanu is fantastic.
Leylah vs Emma Final 🤞#USOpen2021 #LeylahFernandez
— Aaron👋 (@robertsonaaron) September 8, 2021
Stellar performances: Fernandez, whose mother is Filipino-Canadian and father is Ecuadorian, took on Ukraine’s No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina on Tuesday to deliver a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory, the Associated Press reported.
- The teenager eliminated 2020 champion Naomi Osaka on Friday before defeating three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber on Sunday.
- Fernandez, who joined the tournament unseeded with a world ranking of 73, had never reached beyond the third round in her previous major appearances.
- A year after turning professional, Fernandez made her women’s Grand Slam debut in the 2020 Australian Open but was eliminated in the opening round. She managed a second-round finish in the 2020 U.S. Open and a third-round finish in the 2020 French Open.
- For her semifinal debut on Thursday, she is set to play No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka, who has just defeated French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova.
Stunning debut: Raducanu, born to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother in Canada, outclassed Tokyo Games gold medalist Belinda Bencic in their quarterfinal match on Wednesday, reported Agence-France Presse.
- The teen from Bromley, England, joined the U.S. Open for the first time with a world ranking of 150. She secured her spot by playing three qualifying matches, according to the BBC.
- Raducanu became the first qualifier to reach the U.S. Open women’s semifinals. In her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon earlier this year, she managed to reach the fourth round.
- A win against Greece’s No. 17 seed Maria Sakkari on Thursday would make Raducanu the first qualifier to ever reach a Grand Slam final.
- Speaking to Reuters, Raducanu and Fernandez expressed excitement about both of them making it to the semifinals.
- “The fact that we are both here in the semifinals of the U.S. Open after having played each other from the early days, it’s very cool to see just how far we’ve come,” Raducanu shared.
- “I’m just glad that we’re doing such great jobs and doing just that,” Fernandez was quoted as saying. “This tournament just proves how well we’re adapting to everything.”