US Open: Emma Raducanu says reaching final is 'crazy, cool and absolutely mind-blowing'

After nine matches at 2021 US Open, Emma Raducanu has yet to lose a set, which includes her three qualifiers
US Open 2021 Venue Flushing Meadows New York Date: 30-08-12 September Coverage: Daily radio commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website/app, with selected text commentaries and match report on the app and website

Emma Raducanu, a British teenager, says that reaching the US Open Grand Slam final feels "crazy and cool" and "absolutely mind-blowing".

The 18-year old beat Maria Sakkari, a 17-year-old Greek seed, 6-1 6-4 to become the first qualifier for a major final.

For the title, she will be facing Leylah Fernandez (19), Canadian world number 73.

Raducanu said that he never imagined it would be possible to play in the Grand Slam finals.

"I really enjoy my time in New York, and it shows in my tennis. It's so famous, and tonight I felt like I was just thriving.

The public has been captivated by her dream run in New York. Many people posted on social media that they set their alarms for the mid-night match, and were tired or late to work. Her win was praised by many, including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Raducanu is currently ranked 150th around the globe and will be the British number 1 on Monday. She is expected to climb to 32 in the rankings after her latest victory.

Raducanu became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade in 1977, when she beat world number 18 Sakkari.

Raducanu stated, "I didn't know of this record." Raducanu said, "It's obviously a great honor to be the first person in the final for so many years."

"Crazy, cool. It was absolutely mind-blowing to be in New York for three consecutive weeks.

Fernandez was beaten by Aryna Sabalenka, a second seed from Belarus, on Thursday. This will be her first ever all-teen final at the US Open since Serena Williams versus Martina Hingis 1999.

Raducanu was previously matched by Fernandez in junior competition. The pair also crossed paths at the prestigious junior Orange Bowl Tournament, where the Briton won in straight set when they met at Wimbledon's 2018 girls tournament.

Raducanu stated, "We go back to a long distance." "I can remember talking to her in the Under-12 Orange Bowl. We met at junior Wimbledon. Since our last encounter, we've come so far together. It will be a great match up.

Raducanu's success is dependent on the youth.

Raducanu is the fourth woman from Britain to reach the Open Era's major final. But Raducanu's remarkable run to the final has included six main-draw matches on her overseas Grand Slam debut and a total of nine sets in the 2021 US Open.

Raducanu, who has only played in her first WTA event in June - she conceded just 27 games in her 18 sets of tennis in New York, despite facing Sakkari, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and three other top-50 players.

Raducanu stated, "I believe honestly that being young, you have an element of play completely free."

"But I am certain that once I get older and have more experience, the same thing will happen to me. I believe the tables will change. I believe that younger players will emerge.

"Honestly, I am just thinking about the game plan and how to execute. This is what has landed me here. It's not about who is expected to win this or that match. It's about taking care of the day. This is what I am doing at the moment.

"I don’t feel any pressure or obligation to win. Any pressure you feel is yours. Although I have expectations about my level and the performance I want, there is no pressure to deliver results.

"Staggering" & "astonishing" - pundits shocked

Tim Henman, former British number one, described Raducanu’s semi-final performance as "simply amazing" and "absolutely astounding".

Henman stated that she was "so resilient" when speaking on Amazon Prime. She didn't falter. She didn't give up. It was unstoppable. Then you have to add the scenario of being a qualifier (18-year-old) with all the legends that have ever played this game at Grand Slam.

She deserves all the credit in this world. She plays on her terms, even on the largest stage in our sport. It's amazing to see."

Greg Rusedski, an ex-US Open finalist, said that Raducanu's performance left him "dumbfounded". He believes it "was worthy" of being a world number 1, a US Open champion and a multiple Grand Slam champion.

"The composure and belief she displayed in handling the difficult points. It was her first Grand Slam semi final and it felt like she was still in the first round. It was amazing," Rusedski said.

Judy Murray tweeted that Raducanu's win was an "incredible accomplishment", while Laura Robson, a fellow British player, called it "unbelievable". Prime Minister Johnson stated: "The entire country will be cheering for you in the final."