‘Crazy, cool & mind-blowing’ to reach final – Raducanu

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Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu is yet to lose a set after nine matches at the 2021 US Open, including her three qualifiers
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 30 August-12 September
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

British teenager Emma Raducanu says reaching her first Grand Slam final at the US Open feels “crazy, cool and absolutely mind-blowing”.

The 18-year-old stunned Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-4 to become the first qualifier to reach a major final.

She faces Canadian world number 73 Leylah Fernandez, 19, for the title in New York on Saturday.

“I never thought it would come this early to be in a Grand Slam final,” Raducanu told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m really enjoying my time in New York and that’s showing in my tennis. Tonight, being under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium, it’s so iconic and I think I was just thriving in the moment.

“I don’t feel any pressure to win. Any pressure is self-inflicted. I have expectations of my level and how I want to perform but there’s no pressure in terms of results.”

Raducanu, currently ranked 150th in the world, will become the British number one on Monday. Following her latest triumph, she is projected to rise to 32 in the rankings.

Thursday’s victory over world number 18 Sakkari, by far the most significant of her career, means Raducanu is the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977.

“I had no idea of this record,” Raducanu said. “It obviously means a lot to be the first in the final for so long.

“All of the British tennis girls are playing well right now. They’re a very nice bunch of girls and I’m sure we’ll keep pushing each other up the ranks.”

Her final against Fernandez, who herself shocked Belarusian second seed Aryna Sabalenka on Thursday, will be the first all-teen US Open final since Serena Williams against Martina Hingis in 1999.

Raducanu and Fernandez have met before in junior competition – crossing paths at the prestigious junior Orange Bowl tournament, while the Briton won in straight sets when the pair met in the 2018 girls tournament at Wimbledon.

“We go back a long way,” Raducanu said. “I remember speaking to her in Under-12 Orange Bowl. We played each other at junior Wimbledon. We’ve both come so far since we last played each other. I’m excited to see what sort of match-up it will be.”

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