The women's draw of the US Open 2021 will offer big surprises until the last. The challenge between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez, victorious respectively over Sakkari and Sabalenka, is one of those that make history.
The first, 18-yeras-old, and the second, 19-years-old, will face each other in the youngest final of a Grand Slam by Serena Williams and Martina Hingis in 1999. The path of the English star who hits the final in Flushing Meadows through the qualifiers stands out, a feat that never succeeded also among men.
A final that, moreover, the British women's tennis had not seen since 1968, when Virginia Wade went all the way to winning the title. However, the ride of the Canadian is not of less value, capable of imposing herself on opponents of the caliber of Osaka, Kerber, Svitolina and, precisely, Sabalenka.
Yet someone in the past advised her to abandon the idea of becoming a professional player to devote herself to studies, as she herself told. Speaking to the microphones of the journalists, Leylah Fernandez first of all revealed her feelings in the heat of her.
She said: "I think we both played an excellent game. Sabalenka started incredibly well in the beginning, but I'm happy that I was able to react and fight for every point. Taking the tiebreaker in the first set was crucial for the outcome of the match.
She then she was superior to me in the second set and she was able to take advantage of the constant mistakes I made. In the third it was a great fight. We fought to the end and I'm happy to have fought on every ball as if it were the last."
Leylah Fernandez: "Many did not believe in me"
The climb of the 19-years-old from Montréal to the US Open was something extraordinary for her and for her fans, surprised by her talent and the result she achieved.
However, when she was little there was someone who did not believe in her talent and advised her to focus on her studies rather than chasing a tennis ball. She adde: "Many people have doubted me, my family and my dreams.
They told me that I would never be a professional tennis player, that I would have to give up and dedicate myself to my studies. I remember the words of a teacher, that she was actually very funny, but at the time she wasn't.
Now it is true that I laugh about it. She told me to stop playing tennis, that I would never make it in this sport and to focus only on my studies. Do you know what? I am happy that you said that because every day I have this sentence in my head and I tell myself to keep moving forward and fighting for my dreams.
This is basically just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other things that my family and I have had to go through. My mother had to go to California when I was little to support the family and fulfill my dream of being a tennis player.
It was a very difficult time because I saw very little of it. I was 10 or 13-years-old. Every time I saw her it was like seeing a stranger but at the same time someone very familiar. I am lucky that my mother is here with me today and that she can enjoy what I am making."
The experience at the US Open will leave its mark on Fernandez, but above all she also said: "it will help her not only to believe in my game, but also to open my eyes and realize that I have no limits to my potential, that I can play three sets against the best.
female players in the world and in any tournament in the world." "I know I can beat them. I am delighted with this experience at Flushing Meadows and to see where I am at my highest level in tennis. My mental strength was also key for me at certain points in the tournament. Both on and off the pitch I am enjoying every minute," she conclude.