The sporting world has just witnessed something never seen before in the history of tennis with British teenager Emma Raducanu winning the US Open women’s final on Sunday morning.
The 18-year-old has become the first player in the open era to win a grand slam after starting the tournament as a qualifier.
Her 6-4 6-3 victory over Canadian Leylah Fernandez exploded in controversy at the finish line, however, when Raducanu was forced to take a questionable medical timeout while facing break point as she was serving for the championship at 5-3.
Raducanu notified the chair umpire after she scraped her knee and was left with blood trickling down her leg.
The chair umpire then ruled she needed to have the scratch attended to.
However, the timing of the timeout, with Fernandez facing an opportunity to put the second set back on serve, appeared to anger Fernadez.
Fernandez complained to the chair umpire before Raducanu came back and won the next point and took the championship just a few points later.
The world No 73 brushed off the drama at the conclusion of the match and warmly embraced Raducanu at the net following her defeat.
Nineteen-year-old Fernandez pushed Raducanu further than anyone else this tournament with their match almost reaching the two-hour mark.
In one of the craziest two weeks put together by a player in tennis, Raducanu won 20 consecutive sets of tennis, beginning with three wins in qualifying for the main draw.
The final was the first time teenagers have met in a Grand Slam final since 17-year-old Serena Williams beat Martina Hingis, 18, at the 1999 US Open.
Despite the enormity of the occasion, Raducanu said during her trophy presentation she was never flustered.
“When I came on court, I felt completely at home,” she said.
“I felt like business as usual, I was just focusing on one point at a time. I had to cling on really hard.”
In just one of several insane records broken, Raducanu is the youngest player to be crowned a grand slam champion since Maria Sharapova in 2004.
The world No 150 will now jump into the top 25 of the WTA Tour rankings and has collected the staggering payday of $3.4 million.
She is also the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.
Raducanu is the youngest US Open champion since Williams in 1999 and the first US Open women’s champion not to drop a set since Williams in 2014.
Raducanu had the fewest Slam starts of any women’s Slam winner, reaching the fourth round in July at Wimbledon in her only prior Slam appearance while Fernandez had won only four matches in six prior Slam appearances.
“This is the most absurd tournament anyone has ever had, let’s be real,” New York Times tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg posted on Twitter.
The BBC’s Josh Bennett wrote: “Emma Raducanu is truly astonishing. No fear whatsoever. Whipping up the crowd now too. So entertaining to watch. It’s like she’s been a top player for years but hardly anyone had heard of her four months ago”.
Journalist Stephen Pollard also posted: “Whatever happens now, this is the most astonishing sporting achievement of my lifetime. Unbelievable”.
The rollercoaster opening set lasted 58 minutes and it had everything.
However the match took another dramatic twist in the second set with Fernandez fending off a break point before breaking Raducanu’s serve in the next service game to lead 2-1. In a sign of how crazy the match was, Raducanu broke back immediately and led 5-3 with two championship point opportunities missed.
The match began just as dramatically as their runs to the final had been with both players breaking their opponent’s serve in marathon early service games.
The first three service games went for 23 minutes.
When Raducanu emerged with the first set, she was pumped up and roared towards the crowd, which had been cheering for Fernandez from the start of the match.
The crowd picked a side early in the first set, with chants of “Let’s go Leylah” ringing loudly around Arthur Ashe Stadium.
But by the end both combatants had won over the crowd and there was huge support for Raducanu as she lifted the Billie Jean King Cup.
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