British tennis star Emma Raducanu storms through to US Open final

10 September 2021, 08:30 | Updated: 10 September 2021, 12:44

Emma Raducanu has made the US tennis final.
Emma Raducanu has made the US tennis final. Picture: Getty

By Sophie Barnett

British teenager Emma Raducanu has reached the US Open final after defeating Maria Sakkari of Greece in straight sets.

The 18-year-old has now become the first qualifier in history to ever reach a grand slam final - and she is the youngest since Maria Sharapova won Wimbledon in 2004 when she was 17.

She sealed an emphatic 6-1, 6-4 victory over 17th seed Sakkari to become the first British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977 to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

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She has been hailed by famous faces for her stellar performance in the tournament, with the Duchess of Cambridge sharing her support.

She tweeted: "What an incredible achievement at this year's #USOpen @EmmaRaducanu!

"We will all be rooting for you tomorrow. Wishing you the best of luck!"

The Duchess of Cambridge signed off her message with her initial 'C', to clearly state she was the person behind the tweet.

Raducanu withstood early pressure from Sakkari as she saved seven break points in her opening two service games, but was clinical as she broke her opponent early to establish a 3-0 lead in the opening set.

A further break of serve underlined Raducanu’s perfect start as the teenager quickly established control before going on to claim the first set 6-1.

Speaking on court after her semi-final win, Raducanu said: "Honestly the time here in New York has gone so fast. I've just been taking care of each day and three weeks later I'm in final. I can't actually believe it."

And when asked about her chances in the final, she added: "Is there any expectation? I'm a qualifier so technically there's no pressure on me."

The British star managed to defeat Sakkari in the first set in just 36 minutes.

She won the first five games, helped by 17 unforced errors on Sakkari's part.

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Former British number one Tim Henman branded Raducanu's performance in her US Open semi-final win over Maria Sakkari as "simply stunning".

Raducanu said: "I think honestly being young, there is an element of you do play completely free.

"But I'm sure that when I'm older or have more experience, yeah, the same will happen to me. I think the tables will turn. Some younger players will come through.

"Honestly right now I'm just thinking of the game plan, how to execute. That's what's landed me in this situation. It hasn't been focusing on who's expected to win this match or that one.

"I think it's just taking care of the day. That's what I'm doing quite well at the moment."

Raducanu is one victory away from becoming Britain's first female grand slam winner since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

With an understatement which has almost become as familiar as her stunning tennis, she added: "It's a surprise. 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. I've only really been on tour for a month, two months, since Wimbledon. It's pretty crazy to me."