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Women in Sport

12th Sep 2021

18-year-old Emma Raducanu wins US Open without dropping a single set

Reuben Pinder

Remember the name.

Emma Raducanu has won the US Open without losing a single set throughout the entire tournament at the age of 18. The Canadian born, half Romanian, half Chinese Londoner has become the first British woman to win a Grand Slam since 1959, when Christine Truman won the same tournament.

Raducanu had to endure three qualifying rounds just to make the tournament, and defied all odds to reach the last 16, let alone the quarters, let alone the semis, or the final, or take the crown home.

The first set was gruelling. Raducanu served first and lost the first point but took the game. Every game seemed to take much longer than the Brit was used to, having breezed her way through every previous round.

Both Raducanu and Fernandez broke the other’s serve, matching each other every step of the way.

3-2 down, Raducanu slipped 30-0 behind but quickly clicked into gear to win four consecutive points and take the lead, letting out a rallying cry of ‘come on!’, echoed by everyone watching from across the pond in the UK.

The set ebbed and flowed and reached deuce after deuce after deuce before eventually, Raducanu broke again to win the first set 6-4. Britain – and China, Romania, and probably half of Canada – let out a sigh of relief. 13 sets played, 13 sets won.

Fernandez bit back at the start of the second set, breaking Raducanu in the third game. The Brit wasn’t shaken though, immediately doing the same.

Raducanu’s second break of the second set put her 4-2 up, before holding to put herself within one game of being crowned US Open champion. Again, without losing a single set. 14 played. 14 won.

She lost one Championship point, as Fernandez took the game to deuce, then took the advantage. Raducanu held her nerve, knowing her lead was big enough that there was no need to panic. Deuce again. The shouts from the crowd became louder and more frequent.

Advantage Raducanu. Deuce. Advantage Fernandez. Rinse and repeat for about five minutes. Game Fernandez, Raducanu had to serve for the Championship.

The umpire was forced to thank the crowd for their support multiple times before they settled down, the tension palpable.

Fernandez suddenly found another gear, growing into the set, refusing to lay down and die. The Canadian sent Raducanu from one end to the other, to the point that Raducanu required medical help medical assistance after cutting her leg while gliding across the baseline to hit a backhand.

Who would this break in play favour? Fernandez remained at her baseline, swinging air shots and bouncing around with confidence while Raducanu’s bleeding leg was mopped up. Fernandez then appeared to bemoan the timeout with the umpire, as if Raducanu had intentionally drawn blood. Mind games? A natural reaction to being stopped mid flow? Probably a bit of both.

The break seemed to favour Raducanu the most, who clawed back an advantage with a couple of superb winners, to give herself a third Championship point.


Remember the name.