Written by Staff Writer by Beth Brennan
Emma Raducanu, now 14, and Leylah Fernandez, 13, both won first-round matches in Greenwich Village and will face off in the first all-teen U.S. Open singles final on Sunday.
This is the second time an all-teen U.S. Open title match has been made. (TennisNews.com)
Fernandez is an especially hopeful match-up for the eventual winner. She made the tournament’s girls’ singles final a year ago at age 13, losing to Alize Cornet, who’s now in this year’s quarterfinals at the All England Club. Fernandez reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals last month.
Raducanu, from Switzerland, did not come to the U.S. Open with her parents. She’s been with her older sister Lucie, age 15, since March, when both were granted special exemptions to play in the main draw of the U.S. Open. (The U.S. Tennis Association, USTA, sent CNN a statement explaining that the regulation exemptions were granted to both teens because they applied within a couple months of one another.)
Raducanu, now 14, has been at the U.S. Open since late June. (The U.S. Tennis Association, USTA, sent CNN a statement explaining that the regulation exemptions were granted to both teens because they applied within a couple months of one another.) (CNN)
Raducanu, a year older than Fernandez, has had the most success to date, reaching the semifinals at the tournament two years ago.
Fernandez missed the U.S. Open in 2016 when she was hospitalized with a mystery illness that severely affected her immune system. She said the tournament’s organizers helped her feel more included by visiting her regularly at the hospital to boost her morale.
“It helped me feel less alone and helped me recover,” she said.
Both will be playing in the semifinals on Friday, with a chance to become the youngest U.S. Open singles champions ever. (TennisNews.com)
Raducanu, now 14, had the best run of any of the teens at this year’s tournament, including two victories against seeded players — an unseeded Sabine Lisicki and three-time U.S. Open winner and second seed Serena Williams.
But Fernandez, an unseeded player, made an early showing, advancing past Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round.
Last year, Fernandez reached the finals at the U.S. Open, where she lost to Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.