WOMEN’S FINAL PREVIEW
EMMA RADUCANU V LEYLAH FERNANDEZ
HEAD TO HEAD: 0-0
It is a fair to assume that no one pre-tournament would have predicted this match up for the US Open final, but as it happens it is probably the most exciting final you could imagine.
We often talk about the next generation in Tennis, and whilst players on the men’s side struggle to bridge the gap, the women’s draw is another story with plenty of fantastic talent emerging and taking their opportunities.
We have seen teenagers such as Swiatek and Andreescu win Grand Slam titles over the last couple of years, and now we have an 18 year old and a 19 year old locking horns in what could be a classic encounter.
The list of records and statistical quirks in this final is almost endless, but here are a few.
It is the first time 2 teenagers have met in a US Open final since 1999, (Williams and Hingis) and the first time ever that 2 unseeded players have reached a grand slam final.
Furthermore the final will be played on the 20thanniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and neither player was born at the time. (Thanks to Ben Rothenberg for the stat)
Emma Raducanu, who is in just her second Grand Slam event has dropped just 27 games in 6 matches, and counting qualifiers has won a remarkable 18 consecutive sets.
She has been dismantling opponents with ease and has spent less time on court than any finalist in the past 9 years.
Her strengths have been everywhere, and whilst she doesn’t have the biggest serve in the game it is an extremely reliable one.
Raducanu has landed 72% of her first serves which ranks second amongst any player to have played more than 3 matches here.
She has also returned 48% of her opponents first serves which ranks first. So her serving is extremely consistent and she has scored more points (108) off her opponents first serve than any other.
This has seen her produce 25 breaks of serve (ranked 2nd to Sabalenka).
Her opponent, Canadian Leylah Fernandez has produced an amazing mix of phenomenal determination, brilliant court coverage and absolute clutch play.
She has defeated 6 consecutive grand slam quarter finalists, beaten 5 straight seeds, 2 former US Open champions, 2 top 10 players and has won four consecutive three set matches, the latest against Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals.
In the process she has spent 4 and a half hours longer on court than her opponent Raducanu coming in to this final.
A measure of her determination is that she has faced 49 break points but has saved 32 of them (65%)
She has maintained aggressive returning positions and has been able to win the most number of points on second serve returns (117) throughout.
She doesn’t take a backward step, but has the weaponry to go with that determination.
The paths of these 2 young stars in getting to this final have been very different, but equally impressive.
Fernandez has refused to give in, and has snuffed out her opponents chances whenever they have appeared.
But Raducanu isn’t giving her opponents any chances at all, and her balance of attack, defence and all round skill set gives her a marginal edge in a finals match up we will see again in future!!
Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips and Sam Groth wrap up the US Open on Monday 13th September at 7pm AEST on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / replayed at 8pm AEST on 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
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