In a US Open Women’s final that nobody predicted, Leylah Anne Fernandez will take on Emma Raducanu. Looking at the WTA odds, which woman is the right pick?
Emma Raducanu vs. Leylah Annie Fernandez
Saturday, September 11, 2021 – 4:00 PM ET at Arthur Ashe Stadium
History was made and made again Thursday night at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows in the US Open. Leylah Fernandez became the youngest women's Grand Slam final since 2004 when Maria Sharapova did it at Wimbledon. Less than two hours later, Emma Raducanu became the youngest player to reach a grand slam final since Fernandez.
Raducanu also became the youngest British Grand Slam finalist since Christine Truman was a French Open finalist in 1959 at age 18. Raducanu was the first British woman to reach the US Open final in 53 years, the last one being Virginia Wade in 1968. Raducanu is now only the fourth British woman to reach the final of a Grand Slam in the Open Era.
Raducanu also became the first qualifier to make the US Open final. Before the tournament, Raducanu was 150th in the world. The US Open has a 128 player field.
Fernandez came into the tournament ranked at 73 so the combined ranking of 223 is the highest combined ranking for US Open finalists. It is the fourth-youngest final ever. It is the first all teenage US Open final since 1999 when Martina Hingis and Serena Williams faced off. This is a prospect that bodes well for both young players, as both Hingis and Williams went on to have historic careers.
Raducanu has had nothing but dominant performances to head into the final. She has not lost a set, not even having a set go past 6-4. Raducanu defeated Stephanie Voegele 6-2, 6-4 and then she defeated Shuai Zhang 6-2, 6-4. She subsequently crushed Sarah Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1. She followed that by defeating Shelby Rogers 6-2, 6-1. She then defeated Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-4, and last night she dispatched Sakkari 6-1, 6-4. A player who had to go through qualifying performing this well is truly unprecedented at the US Open.
Leylah Fernandez took a tougher path to the finals. She defeated Naomi Osaka, the defending champion. She followed up that victory with a win over Angie Kerber, the 2016 US Open champion, who had won 17 of her last 19 matches. Then she beat Elina Svitolina who came into that match on a nine-match win streak. Then she beat Aryna Sabalenka who has the most wins in the WTA this year.
While Raducanu had a more dominant path, it can definitely be said that Fernandez's path to the finals was more impressive.
Both players captured the imagination of the crowd and it will be interesting to see who the New York fans support come Saturday. The crowd definitely gave Leylah a boost after falling behind early. The crowd rallied behind her emphatic displays of enthusiasm after winning key points. Raducanu was more demure in her celebrations, but that makes sense since she was simply so dominant. Keep an eye on crowd support as it may be beneficial to one or both of these young players.
Due to Emma's dominance, she has become the favorite at the top sportsbooks for Saturday's final. I believe this gives us a chance to extract some value once again with Fernandez, who continues to win as an underdog. Fernandez has beat power players and counter punchers alike on her road to the title and her ability to grit out close wins could become a factor. While Emma has played brilliantly, she has really yet to be tested in her path to the final. The win over Sakkari was quite impressive, but observers who have followed Sakkari know that was not her usual level of tennis.
I do believe that Fernandez has the skill and guile to get it done against the younger Raducanu. Fernandez will redirect Emma's pace and can also hit winners from behind the baseline when pressed. Fernandez has shown that she will not falter in tough serving moments, something that Raducanu has not had to deal with. Fernandez is an astounding 5-0 in tie-breaks during this US Open, and if this match stays close as I expect, this type of experience in these pressure moments on the Arthur Ashe Stadium could bear fruit for Fernandez. As dominant as Raducanu has been playing, I believe that her magical run ends here and Fernandez will become the Cinderella of this year's US Open.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.