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US Open: Raducanu becomes first qualifier ever to win Grand Slam

Emma Raducanu

Emma Raducanu, in just her second Grand Slam at the tender age of 18, is US Open champion.

Anyone predicting such an unlikely triumph at the start of what’s been a remarkable tournament would have been whisked away by the men in white coats in an instant.

But one of the most astonishing displays from a Brit in any sport was complete when the equally impressive Leylah Fernandez was dispatched 6-4, 6-3.

It has been 44 long years since one of our own girls – Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 – lifted a major and how proud the former SW19 champ was looking down on the new golden girl creating a piece of stunning tennis history.

Raducanu not only became the first qualifier ever to scoop a slam, she won it without dropping a set. That’s not been done at the US Open since Serena Williams won here in 2014.

We are simply running out of superlatives to describe this incredible kid from Kent who has become just the fourth British woman ever to win one of the biggest titles in the world.

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Our new No1, who was ranked world No338 before this summer’s Wimbledon, now has the sporting world at her feet. She is now closing in on the top 20.

After Saturday night, Raducanu will become the name on everyone’s lips – and she deserves every single plaudit following this quite amazing glory charge in the Big Apple.

When Raducanu was forced to play in the street with her dad during lockdown, not in her wildest dreams did she imagine walking out at the biggest tennis stadium on earth just a few months later vying for one of the four majors.

Before the dramatic run to the fourth round Wimbledon she was virtually unknown, a girl waiting for her A-level results and contemplating which career path to take.

Her pals were all looking forward to freshers’ week at university.

But the first British woman to reach the US Open final in 53 years is now on course to become one of the most marketable athletes in sport.

The statistics surrounding her remarkable route to the final are quite something.

She is now the first woman to lift a title in just her second Grand Slam appearance.

Raducanu began the first final between two unseeded players having not dropped a set in NINE games – three in qualifying, six in the main draw – which ensured her time on court was five hours less than Fernandez.

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