Emma Raducanu won the title in 2021 after defeating Leylah Fernandez in the final.
The US Open 2021 has reached it’s final stage. Young sensation Emma Raducanu won the women’s singles title, while World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles finals.
Djokovic has been in terrific form at the ongoing US Open and is the favourite to win the title. He is now just one win away from a calendar Grand Slam. The Serbian had to scratch and claw his way into the finals, after playing out a thrilling 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 win over Alexander Zverev on Friday.
On the other hand, Daniil Medvedev won his match in dominant fashion. He defeated Canadian tennis star Felix Augar-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the final. However, Emma Raducanu has taken all the limelight with her title-winning performance in the women’s single category.
She defeated Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 in straight sets to clinch the title. The 18-year-old exceeded all expectations and did not drop a single set in the tournament. Another finalist, Fernandez also left a mark in the hearts of tennis fans. The 19-year-old dealt with the likes of 16th seed Angelique Kerber, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and second seed Aryna Sabalenka. However, the most notable among them was defending champion and third seed Naomi Osaka.
The accomplishments of the two teens made a big statement with regard to the future of women’s tennis. So, keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at the five youngest players who have tasted US Open glory:
5. Pete Sampras ( 19 years and 28 days)
Pete Sampras is a record 14 time Grand Slam champion. The American has every Grand Slam title in his cabinet, with the exception of the French Open. But, it was on the hallowed grounds of the US Open in New York that he enjoyed his first success in 1990, that too at merely 19 years of age.
The fourth seeded Sampras left the likes of Thomas Muster, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi in his wake. In the final against his compatriot Agassi, Sampras delivered a masterclass. He did not allow his opponent any chance to counter. Eventually, Agassi had to concede under Sampras’ immense pressure and accepted defeat in straight sets. The final scoreline read 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to Sampras.
4. Emma Raducanu (18 years and 10 months)
British teenage sensation Emma Raducanu scripted history as she won the US Open title in 2021. She is the first qualifier to secure a Grand Slam crown. Raducanu showed tremendous maturity in her debut appearance at Flushing Meadows. The qualifier dispatched some big names on her way to the title, including Tokyo Olympics gold winner Belinda Bencic and 17th seed Maria Sakkari.
Raducanu was 150th in the world rankings before her US Open triumph. She also ended a long wait of 44 years from the last time a British female tennis player won a Grand Slam. It was Virginia Wade who won Wimbledon in 1977. She was also the last female British tennis player before Raducanu to win the US Open in 1968.
The Briton set a few more records for herself. She became the second youngest player, after Williams, to win the US Open. She is also the first US Open champion since Williams in 2014 to win without dropping a single set. This US Open victory will give Raducanu a much-needed boost in her career.
3. Monica Seles ( 17 years, 9 months, 5 days)
The year 1991 was special for Monica Seles. She won the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open that year. Seles was just 17-years-old when she achieved the remarkable feat. Seles, who had turned pro at the age of 15, had all the talent. Moreover, she had garnered quite a lot of attention with her victory over Chris Evert in 1989.
However, this time around it was another tennis great waiting for her in the opposite direction i.e Martina Navratilova. Martina was a former four-time US Open champion and looking for a fifth title victory. But, Seles was ready and prepared. Although the first set went to a tiebreak, the second set came easy. Seles won the match 7-6, 6-1 and clinched her first US Open crown.
2. Martina Hingis ( 16 years, 11 months, 8 days)
Martina Hingis had already established herself as a teenage sensation at the age of 15. She had won the doubles title with Helena Sukova at Wimbledon in 1996. But, this time around she had set set her sights on singles glory. The first seed Swiss had already added the Australian Open, Wimbledon to her kitty when she came to play the US Open.
The year 1997 was a great one for Martina, as she had reached the finals of every Grand Slam that year. Hingis has multiple youngest-ever accomplishments to her credit due to the success she had in the early stages of her career. She was almost untouchable during that point in time. Such was her dominance at Flushing Meadows that she did not drop a set through her championship victory. Hingis easily dismantled Venus Williams’ challenge in the final and finished the year in style.
1. Tracy Austin ( 16 years, 8 months, 28 days)
The name of Tracy Ann Austin might be the least familiar out of all on the list. But, the American holds the remarkable distinction for being the youngest ever to lift the US Open singles title. At just 16 years and 8 months, Austin defeated a list of elites to win her first Grand Slam title in 1979.
Going up against such pros as Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova at such a tender age is quite intimidating. But, Austin came out with flying colours in that test. Not only did she beat them but she did so in straight sets. The victory earned her a place in US Open history. Tracy would eventually repeat the act two years later in 1981, defeating tennis legend Martina Navratilova to earn her second US Open singles title.