Emma Raducanu Ends Britain’s 44-Year Wait For A Female Grand Slam Champion At US Open - UBITENNIS
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Emma Raducanu Ends Britain’s 44-Year Wait For A Female Grand Slam Champion At US Open

Playing in the main draw of a major tournament for only the second time in her career, the teenage sensation has clinched the New York crown without dropping a single set in 10 matches played.

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2021 US Open Women's Singles Champion Emma Raducanu at the 2021 US Open, Saturday, Sep. 11, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

In what is one of the most remarkable runs in Grand Slam history Emma Raducanu has become the first qualifier to win the US Open after defeating Leylah Fernandez in a thrilling encounter at Flushing Meadows. 

 

The 18-year-old produced a level of tennis that exceeded her age as she battled past her Canadian rival 6-4, 6-3, who put up a valiant fight on the Arthur Ashe stadium. Raducanu has become the first British woman to win the US Open since 1968 and the first to win a major title since 1977. 

“I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team on an incredible fortnight. She’s played some incredible tennis and beaten some of the top players in the world,” the new champion said during her on-court interview.
“It was an incredibly difficult match. I thought the level was extremely high. I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and in finals.

The showdown in New York was a historic occasion with it being the first time a major final in women’s tennis had been contested by two unseeded players. Raducanu and Fernandez have clashed before but that was back in the Wimbledon junior tournament three years ago. Taking to the court to play the biggest match of their lives, neither player looked to be intimidated by the occasion. Paving the way to what was a high-quality first set of tennis.

Raducanu, who was playing in just her fourth WTA-level tournament, was the first to draw blood by breaking two games into the final on her sixth break point. However, Fernandez responded instantly to draw level once again in what was a roller-coaster opener. With both producing their best tennis, it would be the Brit who would prevail. Leading 5-4, Raducanu once again increased her intensity to apply pressure onto her opponent’s service game. Three chances to close the set out came and went before she triumphed on her fourth with the help of a blistering forehand winner down the line. Prompting Raducanu to let out her first sign of real emotion as she tried to orchestrate the crowd to get behind her. 

In recent days Fernandez has been renowned for her fighting spirit after scoring a trio of wins over top-five seeds, as well as former champion Angelique Kerber. It looked as if the Canadian would repeat this in the second frame after grabbing an early break in her favor. However, Raducanu was unfazed by the momentum change as she hit back with a vengeance by claiming four straight games to be on the verge of a historic win. 

Serving for the title after missing two championship points in the previous game, Raducanu’s fairytale victory happened in a dramatic fashion. Engaged in yet another gut-busting rally with Fernandez, she grazed her leg on the ground which forced it to bleed. Prompting the match to be halted at a time when Fernandez had a break-back point.  Resuming play, she took the match back to deuce before working her way to another match point. This time Raducanu prevailed with an ace which prompted her to drop to the ground out of sheer joy and disbelief. 

Leylah always plays great tennis and is always going to fight. That’s just the competitor she is and that’s why she’s here in the final,” she explained.
“I knew I had to dig deep. I fell somehow and I thought that would throw myself off balance because I was going to have to serve. I was just praying for a double fault but we got through it.’
“I think staying in the moment, focusing on what I had to do and my process just really helped in those tough times.”

Raducanu’s unprecedented run in Flushing Meadows is even more extraordinary given the fact it was only her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. Only one other woman has ever reached the final of a major on her second appearance, which was Pam Schriver in 1978. Furthermore, only Kim Clijsters has managed to reach the title match with a lower ranking than Raducanu.

“The future of women’s tennis and the depth right now is so great,” said Raducanu. “I think every single player in the women’s draw has a shot of winning any tournament so I hope the next generation can follow in the footsteps of some of the legends (of the game).

The triumph has transformed the landscape of British women’s tennis. It had been 44 years since the last female player from the host nation of Wimbledon last won a major, which was Virginia Wade, who was in the crowd watching Saturday’s final showdown. Raducanu will now surge to a ranking high of 32nd in the world and claim the British No.1 status just nine months after being ranked outside of the world’s top 300.  

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Marco Cecchinato saves seven break points he faced to beat Dominic Thiem in Geneva

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Marco Cecchinato saved all seven break points he faced to beat 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 34 minutes in the opening round of the Gonet Geveva Open. 

 

Cecchinato avenged his defeat against Thiem, who beat the Italian player in straight sets in the Roland Garros semifinal in 2018. 

Thiem missed the second part of the 2021 season due to a wrist injury. The Austrian player made his come-back last March at the ATP Challenger tournament in Marbella and he has not scored a single win in his six matches. 

Cecchinato saved two break points in a long third game after four deuces in the third game of the second set. Cecchinato dropped just three points in his remaining two service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Cecchinato missed a break point at 1-1 in the second set before saving five break points in the fourth game to hold serve after four deuces. Cecchinato earned the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and held his next two service games easily to seal the second set 6-3 after 1 hour and 33 minutes. 

Cecchinato set up a second round match against Kamil Majchrzak, who overcame Alexander Bublik 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 6-3. 

John Millman cruied past John Millman 6-3 6-1 setting up a second match against Danil Medvedev, who will play his first clay-court match of the year after a hernia problem. Federico Delbonis edged past Lithuanian wild card Rikardas Berankis 6-4 6-4. Last year’s Winston Salem champion Ilya Ivashka came back from one set down to beat Marcos Giron 4-6 6-3 6-2. 

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Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted

The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.

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Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in action against Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.

 

At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.

The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.

Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.

“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”

The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.

“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.

Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.

During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.

“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”

Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.

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Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic win their fourth ATP Masters 1000 doubles title

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Defending champions Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic battled past John Isner and Diego Schwartzman 6-2 6-7 (6-7) 12-10 to claim their fourth ATP Masters 1000 doubles title together at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Mektic and Pavic broke twice to win a one-sided opening set 6-2. Both teams went on serve with no break points en route to the tie-break of the second set. The Croatians earned a championship point at 6-5 in the tie-break, but Schwartzman hit a pair of forehand winners to force a Match Tie-Break. 

Both teams did not convert match points before Mektic and Pavic won the final two points to seal the Match Tie-Break 11-9. 

Isner became the first player to reach three Masters 1000 doubles finals with three different players in the same year. The US player won two consecutive Sunshine Double trophies in Indian Wells with Jack Sock and the Miami Open with Hubert Hurkacz.  Mektic and Pavic won nine ATP Tour titles last year and finished the 2021 season as the world number 1 team in the ATP Doubles Rannking. They had not won a title so far in 2022 before the Rome tournament, but they showed their form this week, as they dropped just one set during the tournament. The Croatian Doubles team beat Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in the semifinal on Saturday.

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