Emma Raducanu: British teen wins US Open
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Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez have been praised by Felix Auger-Aliassime for their US Open heroics. The pair faced off in the first all-teenage US Open women’s singles final since 1999 just weeks ago, and have been heralded by the ATP world No 11 for attracting new fans to the sport and serving as an inspiration for Grand Slam success.
Raducanu made history by becoming the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam last month, failing to drop a set through ten matches en route to the US Open title at just 18 years old.
She wasn’t the only teenager making waves in Flushing Meadows, as her finals opponent Fernandez also had a fairytale fortnight.
The Canadian, who turned 19 during the tournament, beat a hose of Grand Slam champions and top-ranked players in Naomi Osaka, Angie Kerber, Elina Svitolina and Aryna Sabalenka on her way to the final, before losing to Raducanu in straight sets.
Their exploits in Flushing Meadows have led to an increased focus on teenage success, with Raducanu the latest in a long line of young WTA Grand Slam champions, with Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek all winning their first Major titles before turning 21.
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The same success is yet to be replicated on the ATP Tour, though the men’s side gained their youngest active Grand Slam champion at the US Open when 25-year-old Daniil Medvedev won the title.
Auger-Aliassime, who turned 21 last month and also achieved his career-best result at a Grand Slam by making the US Open semi-final, has now shared his admiration for the “likeable” finalists and boosted Raducanu’s win by likening it to Medvedev’s feat over world No 1 Novak Djokovic.
“Yeah well it’s tough to compare. We’re just different tours,” he admitted, speaking ahead of the tournament in Indian Wells, where Raducanu and Fernandez are both competing for the first time since the US Open.
“I look at it very simply, you know, we’ve got two different tours. Of course, the same sport, but we’ve got the women competing with each other, we’ve got the men competing with each other, and it’s as competitive on both sides.
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“Everybody’s competing hard and trying to win. So what they’ve done, Leylah making the final, Emma winning, is as impressive as Daniil winning. It’s just that it’s a different field, different competition.”
The Canadian was also happy to see Raducanu and Fernandez inspire a new generation of fans, and admitted that their success also gave him extra motivation.
Auger-Aliassime continued: “I think for me personally, it was great to see. It was great to see new faces, young players, and also likeable players like the two of them make it that far.
“I think it was a great story for the tournament, for the sport in general, and that’s going to help tremendously, not just them but the WTA and the ATP included.
“Any new interest, new fans we can get into the sport is great so I was really happy for them.
“Talking from me, I’ve been inspired to do better things for a long time now but this always helps.”
Raducanu, Fernandez and Auger-Aliassime are all seeded in Indian Wells, giving them each a bye to the second round.
The Bromley teenager’s hotly-anticipated first match since winning the US Open will serve as Friday’s blockbuster night session match, as she takes on world No 100 Aliaksanda Sasnovich.
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