Canada's Leylah Fernandez and Great Britain's Emma Raducanu have made inspired runs to her first major final at the US Open, and they've attracted the attention of sporting greats all over the world.
The 19-year-old from Montreal came into the tournament having failed to win back-to-back tour-level main draw matches since March. Yet in New York, the World No.73 has scored three Top 5 wins over defending champion Naomi Osaka, No.5 Elina Svitolina, and World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in the semifinals to advance to Saturday's Championship Match. Perhaps her most impressive win of the tournament came in the Round of 16 over former No.1 and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, a grueling, tactical match-up that Fernandez won in three tough sets.
Fernandez's fortnight has not gone unnoticed. From NBA greats Magic Johnson and Steve Nash, to Canada's Olympic gold medalist Christine Sinclair, here's how athletes have responded on social media:
The giant slayer continues!! I just finished watching @leylahfernandez knock off the number 2 player in the world to advance to the Finals!! 🔥 👏🏾— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 10, 2021
Absolutely incredible. US Open finalist. @leylahfernandez Making all of 🇨🇦 proud— Christine Sinclair (@sincy12) September 10, 2021
Wow 19years old leylah Fernandez makes to tennis US open final, incredible beautiful story 👏 I don’t know what they have done for tennis in Canada when they have produced so many great players right now, well done👏👏👏— Teemu Selanne (@TeemuSel8nne) September 10, 2021
Quelle👏🏽 performance 👏🏽@leylahfernandez 👏🏽 Félicitations pour avoir atteint la FINALE de l'@usopen, on est derrière toi jusqu'au bout ! 🇨🇦— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) September 10, 2021
What 👏🏽 a 👏🏽 performance 👏🏽 @leylahfernandez 👏🏽
Congratulations on reaching the @usopen FINAL, we’re behind you all the way! 🇨🇦
"I remember when I was younger, my dad used him as an example, and told me I had to work hard like Steve Nash. Hopefully we can have a tennis match soon."@leylahfernandez thanks @SteveNash for inspiration and support as she reaches her first Grand Slam final at the #USOpen. 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/4TwJN8q8xD— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 10, 2021
Not to be outdone, 18-year-old Raducanu just finished school and only made her WTA debut in June on the grass at Nottingham. The Toronto-born Brit has wasted no time as she has burst on the scene in a stellar summer. In her Wimbledon debut in July, Raducanu did not lose a set en route to the Round of 16. This summer, she made the biggest final - at the time - of her career at the WTA 125K in Chicago, where she lost to former junior No.1 Clara Tauson. Her New York debut has been yet another flurry of achievements unlocked.
Ranked No.150, Raducanu has torn through three qualifying matches and six main draw matches without losing a set. Only once has she lost five games in a set and that came in her second round of qualifying. With wins over Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals and French Open semifinalist Maria Sakkari in the semifinals, Raducanu has notched back-to-back wins over Top 20 opponents for the first time in her career.
Emma-mania has hit Britain full force, and you only have to go to social media to get a glimpse of it:
Congrats @EmmaRaducanu what an achievement already!! Good luck this weekend we’re all be cheering you on back home 🎾— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) September 10, 2021
This is amazing. We are all so proud of youu!! US Open Final lets goo 🚀 https://t.co/WDKWDbrUbf— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) September 10, 2021
Congratulations on making the US Open final @EmmaRaducanu So it begins. @tomallencomedy and I slowly slipping down the pecking order of Bromley Alumni.— Rob Beckett (@robbeckettcomic) September 10, 2021
4.Bradley from Eastenders
Can u dig it congratulations to Emma Raducanu c’mon LG— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) September 10, 2021