Published: 06:42, 10 September 2021
| Updated: 16:48, 10 September 2021
Emma Raducanu stands on the verge of completing one of the most extraordinary stories in British sporting history after reaching the US Open final.
Kent teenager Raducanu beat No.17 seed Maria Sakkari 6-1 6-4 in New York overnight to become the first qualifier ever to reach a Grand Slam final.
The 18-year-old will face fellow teenager Leylah Fernandez, who defeated world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 4-6 6-4 in her semi-final. The winner will pocket $2.5m (£1.8m).
Raducanu, who’s already guaranteed at least $1.25m (£900,000) in prize money, has broken record after record during her remarkable run at Flushing Meadows.
After becoming the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final since Virginia Wade’s 1977 Wimbledon triumph, the Bromley girl said: “Honestly, the time here in New York has gone so fast.
“I’ve just been taking care of each day and, three weeks later, I’m in the final. I actually can’t believe it.
“Today, I wasn’t thinking about anyone else except myself.
“While I have the moment I want to thank my team and the LTA and everyone at home for all their support - I wouldn’t be here without it.
“Tonight, playing under the lights on Arthur Ashe, it’s one of the most iconic things in tennis and I was just so excited to come out here and play in front of you guys.”
Raducanu has reached Saturday’s final without losing a set, dropping only 27 games in six matches.
She also had to win three qualifiers just to take her place in the main draw.
Ranked 336 in the world before her run to the fourth round at Wimbledon, Raducanu - who’s replaced Johanna Konta as British No.1 - will break into the top 30 next week.
Once again she will be the underdog against Fernandez, who beat defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, but it’s a tag she’s thrived on throughout the championships.