Published: 23:14, 11 September 2021
| Updated: 09:11, 12 September 2021
Teenager Emma Raducanu is the US Open women's singles champion.
The 18-year-old from Orpington beat Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 to win her first-ever Grand Slam in New York - without dropping a set in the entire tournament.
Raducanu said: "I'm still so shocked, I can't believe I came through that last service game. it means everything to hold this trophy and I don't want to let go now.
"When I came out on court I felt at home, business as usual, and I was focused on one point at a time. I had to fight really hard to cling on to that first set and keep my nose in front in the second.
"I don't think I served as well as I have through the tournament but it helped in the key moments.
"I really want to congratulate Leylah and her team, she played some incredible tennis and has beaten some of the top players in the world. The level was extremely high and I hope we play each other in many more tournaments and hopefully finals.
"As for the three weeks in New York, I would say having such a supportive team, the LTA my agent, and everyone back home watching on TV, thank you so much for your support over the years.
"Thank you for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match, you have spurred me on in some difficult moments and I hope me and Leylah put on a good match.
"Leylah is always going to play great tennis and fight, that is why she is in the final, I knew I would have to dig deep.
"I fell somehow and thought that would throw me off balance - I was praying not for a double fault! We got through it and focused on the process and mindset, that really helped in those tough times.
"It shows the future of women's tennis and depth of the game is so great, every player in the draw has a shot at winning any tournament, I hope the next generation can follow in the steps of some of the legends, for example Billie Jean right here.
"It means so much to have Virginia Wade here and Tim Henman, British icons, and for me to follow in their footsteps it gave me the belief I could do it."
In a breathtaking final, it was Raducanu who came out on top as she became the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade’s 1977 Wimbledon triumph.
She was the first qualifier in the Open era to reach a Grand Slam final and beat world number 73 Fernandez, who herself had beaten three of the top five seeds to reach the final.
Raducanu showed no signs of any early nerves with an impressive opening service game, featuring a couple of fine winners.
A stunning backhand winner helped Raducanu towards three break points in Fernandez' first service game but the Canadian got the game back to deuce. Although an ace denied Raducanu on the fourth break point, she eventually broke on the sixth to lead 2-0.
Raducanu then saved three break points before a double fault opened the door for Fernandez to break straight back immediately.
Despite both teenagers appearing in their first Grand Slam final, the quality of the tennis was exceptionally high.
The remainder of the first set went with serve until Fernandez had to serve to stay in the set. Raducanu's brilliance handed her two set points and although Fernandez initially resisted, Raducanu took advantage with a forehand winner on the fourth set point to land the first decisive blow.
The second set looked like following the start of the first as Raducanu followed up a comfortable service hold by forcing three break points. But Fernandez has not seen off top-quality opposition to get this far without a fight and she used all her resolve to bounce back and hold her serve.
Raducanu then fell 2-1 behind in the set as Fernandez took advantage of a third break point after the Brit missed a forehand down the line to wrap the game up. But Raducanu broke straight back for 2-2 - somehow forcing a break point in a rally she never had a right to stay in before a dazzling backhand cross-court winner.
A stunning forehand winner saw Raducanu break Fernandez again to go 4-2 ahead and within touching distance of victory.
Raducanu held her own serve with ease and although Fernandez survived two championship points to retain some hope - and her own serve - at 5-3, Raducanu was serving for the match.
Fernandez got a break point on Raducanu's serve, the latter cutting her knee when sliding on court as she tried to return the ball which saw her take a medical time-out trailing 30-40.
Raducanu held the break point on her return as Fernandez went too deep on a return, then held another as she came to the net and had to reach an overhead to win the point. Another deep return gave Raducanu a third championship point, and she delivered a brilliant ace to win the title - falling to the ground before holding her head in disbelief.
Raducanu, who banks £1.8million in prize money, reached the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this summer and was ranked 150 in the world going into the tournament but will now be 23rd when the new rankings are published on Monday.