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‘Captivating the World!’: U.S. Open Final Featuring Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu Showcases Tennis’ Fresh, Young Talent Pool

There were concerns that the U.S. Open Women’s championship would lose its appeal because of early exits by the game’s most recognizable brands.

Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens — all of the young guns who had captivated Flushing, Queens, audiences in the past — failed to even reach the semis.

Queen Serena took a pass on the event before it even started. She’s still trying to get her body back to health so that she can win her elusive 24th Grand Slam and tie Margaret Court’s record.

Despite the absence of some mega-celebrities, history was made in the women’s singles final of the 2021 U.S. Open.

(L-R) Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada holds the runner-up trophy as Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the championship trophy after their Women’s Singles final match at the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2021. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu completed a historic run through the tournament by beating Canada’s 19-year-old rising sensation Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 to win her first Grand Slam title.

China Enters The Game

Raducanu was born in Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother, before moving to London at age 2. China has embraced Raducanu in the same way that Japan did Naomi Osaka, whose mom is Japanese and dad is Haitian.

She made history before her title win by becoming the first player in the professional era — dating back to 1968 —to come through the qualifying rounds to reach the final of a major tournament.

‘21 US Open Women’s champion Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez represent the growing diversity in women’s tennis.

By snatching victory, the 18-year-old became the youngest Grand Slam champion since Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon in 2004.

“I think it just shows that the future of women’s tennis and depth is so great. I think every single player has a shot at winning the tournament,” Raducanu said during the trophy presentation.

“First of all I really want to congratulate Leylah on her incredible fortnight. It was an incredibly difficult match but I thought that the quality was really high.

“I hope that me and Leylah put on a good performance today.”

Fernandez is also of mixed ethnicity and another shining example of tennis’ growing diversity. She was born in Laval, Quebec. Her father Jorge is from Ecuador and is a former soccer player. Her mother Irene (née Exevea) is a Filipino Canadian.

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson was liberal with the praise for the rising star. He tweeted just days after Fernandez upset third seed Osaka and on the same evening of another upset of fifth seed, Elina Svitolina. “If you haven’t seen the most exciting player in the US Open, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, you’re truly missing out!! She just beat her 3rd ranked opponent and is on fire. She’s captivating the world!’

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