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Britain's Emma Raducanu in first all-teen US Open final for 22 years

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By Euronews
Emma Raducanu, of Great Britain, reacts after defeating Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the semifinals of the US Open.
Emma Raducanu, of Great Britain, reacts after defeating Maria Sakkari, of Greece, during the semifinals of the US Open.   -   Copyright  Elise Amendola/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

It will be an all-teenage affair in the women’s US Open tennis final on Saturday.

Britain's rising star Emma Raducanu, 18, will play Leylah Annie Fernandez, 19, from Canada at New York’s Flushing Meadows.

They will compete in the first major final between two teens since the 1999 US Open, when Serena Williams, 17, defeated Martina Hingis, 18.

As well as both being teenagers, Raducanu and Fernandez are also both unseeded at the tournament.

Raducanu became the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam final in the professional era by overwhelming 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari 6-1, 6-4. Appearing in just her second major tournament, Raducanu won all 18 sets she has played during three matches in qualifying rounds and six in the main draw.

“I've just been taking care of each day,” Raducanu said, “and before you know it, three weeks later, I'm in the final and I can't believe it.”

Fernandez made it through a semi-final filled with momentum swings to edge No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4.

Wimbledon was Raducanu's only previous major tournament; she entered via a wild-card entry with a ranking outside the top 300 and made it to the fourth round before stopping in the second set because of trouble breathing. Fernandez's best past showing at a Slam was getting to the third round at Roland Garros last year.

Who is Emma Raducanu?

Born in Toronto to a Chinese mother and a Romanian father, Emma moved to London with her family when she was just two years old. Three years later, she discovered the sport that became her calling.

Coached by the former British tennis player Andrew Richardson, Raducanu shot to prominence at this year’s Wimbledon as she became the youngest British woman in 42 years to reach the fourth round. She was ranked 338 in the world at the time.

Raducanu made her senior debut at the Viking Open in Nottingham in 2020 and entered Wimbledon 2021 as a wildcard entry following a steady performance in the previous months.

During her junior years, she made it to the quarter-finals of the French and US opens in 2018, reaching the world ranking of 20, her highest.

The meteoric rise of her career continued this past week when she reached the semi-finals of the US Open, becoming only the fourth woman in the sport’s history to reach a semi-final of a Grand Slam after arriving at the tournament via the qualifying rounds.

If the Londoner beats her Canadian counterpart in the final, she would become the first British woman to win the US Open since Virginia Wade in 1968.

Watch the full interview with sports reporter Michael Kurn and Euronews anchor Tokunbo Salako.