Emma Raducanu odds on to win Sports Personality of the Year after breezing into US Open final

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·38 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Emma Raducanu reaches US Open 2021 final after incredible victory - live reaction - SHUTTERSTOCK
Emma Raducanu reaches US Open 2021 final after incredible victory - live reaction - SHUTTERSTOCK

Emma Raducanu is now the new odds-on favourite with bookmakers to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Punters have been backing her in droves in anticipation of an historic US Open triumph for the 18-year-old and so much money has been staked on her that she has overtaken Tom Daley at a prices as short as 8-13.

Becoming Britain’s first female grand slam winner for 44 years would also put her firmly in line for recognition in the New Year’s Honours list.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among many well-wishers to acclaim her victory over Maria Sakkari in the final. "What an incredible achievement at this year's US Open," read a message on the Duke and Duchess's Twitter account on Friday morning. Liam Gallagher and Marcus Rashford also chimed in with praise.

Raducanu, who becomes the first qualifier to make a Grand Slam final, will play Leylah Fernandez on Flushing Meadows' Arthur Ashe Court on Saturday night.

Sue Barker said she was awestruck by Raducanu's performances in New York City. "She's not just winning matches, she's breezing it, the 1976 French Open champion, said.

"They're not even getting close to her. She is nerveless and staying in the moment, and that's incredibly hard to do. I've just been in awe of what I've been watching."

01:20 PM

Teenagers with plenty in common

Eleanor Crooks reports on the similarities between Saturday's finalists

Background

There are many similarities between Raducanu and Fernandez, who were both born in Canada to immigrant families. Raducanu's father Ian is Romanian and her mother Renee Chinese. The family moved to Britain when Raducanu was two and settled in Bromley, Kent. The teenager cites China's Li Na and Simona Halep of Romania as her biggest on-court inspirations, saying: "I think for me, having a Chinese mum, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work (and) discipline."

Fernandez hails from Montreal but has Filipino heritage from her mother Irene and Ecuadorian and Peruvian from father Jorge, a former footballer, who moved to Canada as a child. In an emotional interview with Canadian network TSN, Jorge said: "We're an immigrant family and we had nothing. Canada opened up its doors and, if they wouldn't have done what they did, I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I have and I wouldn't have been able to give them to my daughter."

Jorge is Fernandez's main coach while Ian is heavily involved in Raducanu's career, although more behind the scenes, trusting his daughter's tennis to a series of different mentors.

Path to New York

Raducanu remembers first meeting Fernandez at an under-12s tournament, with the pair only separated in age by two months. Their only previous clash on court came in the girls' singles at Wimbledon in 2018, with Raducanu winning 6-2 6-4.

Fernandez had the more prestigious junior career, winning the French Open girls' title and reaching the Australian Open final in 2019. She was set on a tennis career from a young age despite early rejection by the Canadian system. Fernandez's mother moved to the USA alone to support the family and her daughter's budding career, before the whole family subsequently relocated to Florida. The teenager has played on the main tour for two years, winning her first WTA title in Mexico earlier this year.

Leylah Fernandez - Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY S
Leylah Fernandez - Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY S

Raducanu has taken her tennis career a lot more slowly, saying after beating Maria Sakkari in the semi-finals that it was not until a couple of years ago that she committed to a full-time future in the game. She stayed in full-time education, taking a break from the tour to focus on her A-Levels.

Nevertheless, her talent was obvious from an early age and there has been a lot of excitement about her within British tennis for a number of years. When she did play matches, she invariably did well, and she has progressed at warp speed since making her Wimbledon debut as a wild card only two months ago.

Game style

The similarities between right-hander Raducanu and left-hander Fernandez extend to their game styles, with both slight figures who pack a real punch. Both women's games are based on superb athleticism, which enables them to defend brilliantly against even the biggest hitters. They are also both very adept at turning defence into attack, taking the ball extremely early and redirecting it at will. Both average 96 miles per hour for their first serve and have done a good job of protecting their second serves, while they are also comfortable at the net.

Fernandez is the more exuberant on court, drawing the crowd into matches with what has already become a trademark exhortation-cum-fist pump. Raducanu is more contained but both have stood out with their mature approach, intelligent point construction and mental solidity. Former world number one Mats Wilander said on Eurosport: "I would say the same about Emma as I would say about Leylah. If she stays fit, she is going to win multiple grand slam titles. I cannot imagine a player like that not winning three or four majors, I really can't."

01:07 PM

No matter how much you watch and read

You're still left wondering how Raducanu has done so well so quickly.

Here's the take of our very own Oliver Brown.

"Unlike her forebears in British tennis, Raducanu is handling the rising anticipation with a breathtaking insouciance. For Henman and for Andy Murray, the pressures of folk-hero status seemed to stretch them beyond human endurance. Johanna Konta, three times a major semi-finalist in the past six years, could be prickly and brittle the higher the stakes became.

Raducanu, on the other hand, is so at peace with her own potential that she can treat even the noise of tennis’ most cavernous arena as rocket fuel. No sooner had she swatted Sakkari aside than she was handing out visors and towels to children in the stands."

READ: Emma Raducanu is so at ease with her own potential she can treat the noise as rocket fuel

12:53 PM

So who stands between Raducanu and US Open glory?

The short answer to that is 'Leylah Fernandez'. The bullet-point version follows, and then a link to the longer version...read it all to brush up on your knowledge before tomorrow's final.

  • Leylah Fernandez was told by a teacher she'd never make it as tennis player and she'd be best advised to give up.

  • The Canadian turned 19 during her march to the final

  • She's reached a career-high ranking of 66 and entered this tournament as world No.73

  • Fernandez’s march to the final has been based on her energy, athleticism and never-say-die attitude

"Whisper it, but if anything Fernandez's run to the final been more impressive, and no less surprising, than Raducanu’s. On her way to the semi-final Fernandez saw off world No 3 and four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber and world No 5 Elina Svitolina and in the process become the youngest player to beat two out of the top-five players in the WTA rankings since none other than Serena Williams achieved the feat back in 1999. That was before she then beat the world No 2 Aryna Sabelenka in Thursday’s last-four clash."

READ: Who is Leylah Fernandez? Told at school she wouldn't make it at tennis and now one win from US Open glory

Leylah Fernandez's run to the US Open final has been equally as surprising as as Emma Raducanu's  - GETTY IMAGES
Leylah Fernandez's run to the US Open final has been equally as surprising as as Emma Raducanu's - GETTY IMAGES

12:26 PM

Stats time!

On her way to tomorrow's final Raducanu has been racking up some startling stats - here are some of them...

  • The 18 year old is the first ever qualifier (man or woman) to reach a Grand Slam final.

  • She's only the fourth player to reach the final on her US Open debut after Pam Shriver (1978), Venus Williams (1997) and Bianca Andreescu (2019).

  • She's is the first British female Grand Slam finalist since Virginia Wade in 1977.

  • She's also the first British woman to reach the US Open final since Wade in 1968.

  • And she is only the fourth British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open era.

Emma Raducanu 
Emma Raducanu

11:56 AM

Meet the parents

It's a truism in sport that behind every star there's a family that has backed them from their earliest forays in sport - whether it be kicking, catching or, in tennis' case, hitting a ball. From picking up from and ferrying to practice to being the shoulder to cry on when they lose or suffer setbacks, the parents are the first and ultimate backroom team.

Emma Raducanu's family is no different and here's Simon Briggs' overview of the background that helped the 18 year old reach the US Open final

"Like Serena Williams’ father Richard 30 years ago, Ian Raducanu had an unusual take on things. He wasn’t interested in orthodoxy. He was said to want Emma to have a different coach for each shot, just as a golfer might have a dedicated putting coach."

READ: Emma Raducanu's parents: How 'out there' father and 'no-nonsense' mother put needs of their daughter first

11:03 AM

Here's what the bookies are saying

It won't surprise you to learn that Raducanu is now odds-on favourite at 8-13 to lift the US Open with British bookmakers.

If, like some of us, you love a 'hindsight bet' then here's the info you want - that 8-13 today has come in from a whooping 150-1 at the start of the tournament. Which, considering she had hardly played much pro tennis and Grand Slam matches before playing Stateside, still seems a bit short...

The girl from Bromley is also the odds-on favourite at 8-11 with Coral to be named this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"Not only is this the most incredible sporting storyline of the year, it's one in which Hollywood directors would rip up as being too far-fetched. Raducanu was 150/1 to win the tournament once she qualified in New York, she is now odds-on to lift the title," said Coral's John Hill.

"The British heroine has attracted over 2,000 bets to win the tournament as she has progressed through to the final without dropping a set and could be set to cost British bookies a multi-million-pound pay-out," added Hill.

10:26 AM

'Concrete jungle where dreams are made'

Here's Arthur Ashe Stadium - the biggest tennis arena in the world holding over 23,000 fans. It's fair to say the New York mega structure hasn't overawed Emma Raducanu...

Arthur Ashe Stadium 
Arthur Ashe Stadium

10:22 AM

Nowhere quite like being away from home

France's Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon champion, believes Emma Raducanu is benefiting from the pressure of not playing at home.

Bartoli told BBC Radio 5 Live: "A lot of players when they come on court are quite stressed and you can feel but for her it is completely the opposite.

"Now in New York for her I think there is a little bit less pressure than playing at home at Wimbledon and she can express who she is as well as her level of tennis.

"Her level of tennis is off the track. She moves so well, she is so athletic and fearless. She is beating everyone and writing history. It's great for tennis in the UK that you have someone after Andy Murray.

"At 18 there are no weaknesses in her game. I think she is going to win multiple grand slams. It's just a matter of time because she has a champion's quality."

10:07 AM

More royal (of the rock variety) best wishes

Liam Gallacher has been following Emma Raducanu's run in New York and been sure to post Tweets letting the world know he's rooting for her. Here's this morning's...

10:03 AM

A royal seal of approval

If you thought the whole country was now completely invested in Emma Raducanu's US open run you'd be sort of correct. WhatApps have been sent, plans to watch the final made and Tweets made, such as this one from none other than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Keen tennis (and all sports...) fans the royal couple have sent their best wishes to Britain's newest sensation.

09:39 AM

If you're shocked Raducanu has made it to the final

You're not the only one...

09:37 AM

Good news for those without Amazon Prime

Whether it be due to the late starts or lack of Amazon Prime a fair few tennis fans have had their Emma Raducanu fix served only by clips on social media. But at least they will be able to see more of Saturday's final as the BBC has secured the rights to a highlights show. They will have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see how Raducanu fared, but success or not British fans will be able to see their new star for more than a few Twitter clips.

Raducanu
Raducanu

09:13 AM

Anyone who thinks Emma Raducanu will be very happy

Is of course absolutely right - as the British star can confirm herself...

08:55 AM

Support from other sports

08:42 AM

'She's breezing it'

Sue Barker says she has been in awe watching Raducanu at the US Open.

Barker, the 1976 French Open champion, told BBC Radio 5Live: "I'm pinching myself with what I've been watching. We all thought at Wimbledon this is star of the future but it might take her a few years.

"But to be in a grand slam final in her fourth tournament is absolutely incredible. She's not just winning matches, she's breezing it.

"They're not even getting close to her. She is nerveless and staying in the moment, and that's incredibly hard to do. I've just been in awe of what I've been watching."

08:13 AM

Tennis Podcast reacts

Our friends at the Tennis Podcast have released their latest episode taking in Raducanu's incredible win this morning. Give it a listen here:

07:37 AM

More Raducanu reaction

Asked to assess her performance over the last three weeks, she said: “My tennis level has surprised me in the way that I've managed to step up against some of the best players in the world.

“I personally think I knew I had some sort of level inside of me that was similar to these girls, but I didn't know if I was able to maintain it over a set or over two sets.

“To be able to do it and play the best players in the world and beat them, I honestly can't believe it.”

07:19 AM

Raducanu the new SPOTY favourite

And maybe more if she wins, as Ben Rumsby reports.

Emma Raducanu is now the new odds-on favourite with bookmakers to be crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Punters have been backing her in droves in anticipation of an historic US Open triumph for the 18-year-old. Becoming Britain’s first female grand slam winner for 44 years would also put her firmly in line for a gong in the New Year’s Honours.

06:44 AM

Analysis of Raducanu's win

We have used up all our superlatives on this dream run already, but suffice to say that this was Raducanu’s best performance to date.

Simon Briggs reports on Raducanu's victory here.

06:16 AM

Team Raducanu

The British teenager has spoken a lot this week of her team, both in New York and back in London.

Here, our tennis correspondent Simon Briggs introduces us to those who have helped Raducanu reach the New York final.

Emma Raducanu Instagram
Emma Raducanu Instagram

05:54 AM

Emotional Henman

Former British No 1 Tim Henman was courtside as part of his work for Amazon Prime. After the match, Raducanu said Henman had been giving her plenty of encouragement from the sidelines.

And he led the praise for the sensational teen.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES

It's an absolutely staggering performance. If we just look at the way she came out and played, her quality of tennis from start to finish, she was so resilient. She never flinched.

She never let up. It was relentless. And then you've got to throw in the scenario of being a qualifier, an 18-year-old, with all the legends who have ever played this game at grand slam level. She is the first person to qualify and reach the final. It's simply stunning.

She deserves all the credit in the world. On the biggest stage in our sport at every opportunity she plays on her terms. It's incredible to watch. She'll need to enjoy this tonight and then get ready for Saturday.

Read more here.

05:46 AM

Sakkari speaks

"Bad memories" from Roland Garros may have foiled Maria Sakkari at the US Open, as the 17th seed fell in the semi-final of a Grand Slam for the second time this year.

She was totally outplayed, struggling on serve and putting up 33 unforced errors. Sakkari lost to Czech Barbora Krejcikova in the French Open semi in June, a nail-biting three-setter.

I probably didn't handle it the right way, playing a second semi-final again this year. I had bad memories from my last one and I think I did not handle it the right way.

Things don't go your way most of the times. You just have to accept that.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - AP
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - AP

05:12 AM

Saturday night rematch!

The final on Saturday won't be the first time Raducanu and Fernandez have played each other.

In 2018, they met in the Wimbledon junior girls second round and Raducanu, who was unseeded, won 6-2, 6-4.

Fernandez was the 11th seed and Raducanu was eventually beaten 6-0, 6-1 by Poland's Iga Swiatek, who won the 2020 French Open.

05:02 AM

Ripping up the record books

04:51 AM

' If Emma stays fit she is going to win multiple Grand Slam titles'

Some thoughts from Eurosport tennis expert and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander:

To me, for Leylah, this is an early sign that if she stays healthy physically she is going most definitely going to get to a bunch of semi-finals, a bunch of quarter-finals, and finals – and most probably win some – because she has it. She has the intangible that you can’t win without it. Mentally Leylah is like a rock, incredible. She has a temperant similar to Rafa Nadal that leaves you asking how do you do that? That’s who they are.

Emma is incredibly talented, physical, has unbelievable timing, tennis IQ, heart and enjoys it. They have both embraced in a way that I cannot put myself in their shoes. The enjoyment part that gets the crowd going is so key for both of them. It’s going to be interesting to see who the crowd is pulling for, that’s for sure. Emma has done it at Wimbledon and the US Open, you can do it at the smaller tournaments but she has done it on the biggest stage which says it all. I would say the same about Emma as I would say about Leylah, if she stays fit she is going to win multiple Grand Slam titles. I cannot imagine a player like that not winning three or four majors, I really can’t.

This final is going to be more of an open match where both Emma and Leylah are going to try and be aggressive, close to the baseline, without having a killer shot off of a dead ball. The difference between them and Sakkari and Sabalenka is that they can hit winners off of a dead ball. Raducanu and Fernandez play very similar in a way, if Fernandez was right-handed you wouldn’t see much difference in their styles, they are pretty close in how they play.

04:35 AM

Need an excuse? The LTA has got you covered!

04:28 AM

'There's no pressure on me'

Asked about coping with expectation and excitement ahead of the final, Raducanu said:

I mean, is there any expectation? I'm a qualifier, so technically on paper there's no pressure on me.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES

04:21 AM

Moving on up

04:16 AM

Raducanu's route to the final

Qualifying: Q1 d. Schoofs 6-1, 6-2. Q2 d. Bolkvadze 6-3, 7-5. Q3 d. Sherif 6-1, 6-4

Main draw: R1 d. Voegele 6-2, 6-3. R2 d. Zhang 6-2, 6-4. R3 d. Sorribes Tormo 6-0, 6-1. R4 d. Rogers 6-2, 6-1. QF d. Bencic 6-3, 6-4. SF d. Sakkari 6-1, 6-4.

04:08 AM

The kids have arrived

03:59 AM

Raducanu speaks

Honestly today I wasn't thinking about anyone else except for myself.

While I have the moment I just really want to thank my team, the LTA and everyone back home for 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. Thank you for coming.

03:53 AM

Raducanu's achievement in context

  • First qualifier, man or woman, to reach a Grand Slam final.

  • Youngest British Grand Slam finalist in 62 years.

  • First British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 44 years.

  • First British woman to reach a US Open final in 53 years.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES

03:50 AM

The winning moment

03:43 AM

Raducanu* 6-1, 6-4 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Raducanu has held serve 46 times in the tournament. A 47th and she reaches the final.

Sakkari forehand return into the net, 15-15. RADUCANU FOREHAND WINNER, 30-15. Sakkari backhand into the net.

GAME>SET>MATCH. RADUCANU DRIVE FOREHAND WINNER!!!! RADUCANU IS THROUGH TO THE US OPEN FINAL!!!!

03:37 AM

Raducanu 6-1, 5-4 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Ideal service game from Sakkari. She holds to 30 and forces Raducanu to serve for the match. Can she do it?

03:34 AM

Raducanu* 6-1, 5-3 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Sakkari just can't read Raducanu's serve today. It's been unplayable. The 18-year-old races to 40-0.

Sakkari forehand winner, 40-15. Raducanu nets a forehand, 40-30. Sakkari forehand wide.

RADUCANU IS ONE GAME FROM THE US OPEN FINAL!!!

03:30 AM

Raducanu 6-1, 4-3 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Must hold game for Sakkari. But she nets a backhand on the opening point. Sakkari backhand into the net, 0-30.

Sakkari forehand long, THRE BREAK POINTS. Good defence by Sakkari to save the first. Then the second with an ace. Bloody hell, what a rally. Jaw dropping rally. Both players giving it everything. Raducanu making Sakkari play the extra ball on three occasions but the Greek stands firm. Deuce.

Big Raducanu return, fourth break point. Saved again by Sakkari with a drive forehand winner. Break point No 5 as Sakkari nets a forehand. Sakkari volley winner, gutsy tennis.

A roar from Sakkari as she holds after 9 minutes. Could those missed break points prove to be a turning point?

03:19 AM

Raducanu* 6-1, 4-2 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Raducanu backhand winner, 15-0. Sakkari forehand wide, 30-0. Big first serve followed by a backhand winner, 40-0.

Raducanu backhand down the line AGAIN. This young women is not blinking at all.

03:15 AM

Raducanu 6-1, 3-2 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Sakkari backhand long, 15-15. Sakkari double fault, 15-30. Terrible Raducanu drop shot, 15-40.

Raducanu goes long on the first. Raducanu shanks a forehand long. Deuce.

Ace Sakkari, her third of the match. And she holds when Raducanu nets a backhand.

03:11 AM

Raducanu* 6-1, 3-1 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Attack Raducanu's backhand at your peril. She drills another cross winner past Sakkari, 40-30. Raducanu ace. She holds and is now three games from the final.

03:07 AM

Raducanu 6-1, 2-1 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Brilliant, just brilliant from Raducanu as she hits a backhand return winner, 15-30. Sakkari forehand long for the umteenth time, two break points.

Deep Raducanu return and Sakkari shanks a forehand long. Raducanu breaks again!!!!

03:02 AM

Raducanu* 6-1, 1-1 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Raducanu volley winner, 30-15. Followed by her first double fault of the match, 30-30. Sakkari overhits again on the forehand wing, 40-30.

And another on goes long to allow Raducanu to hold.

02:59 AM

Second set: Raducanu 6-1, 0-1 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Emphatic love hold by Sakkari to start the game. Perhaps that might settle her down.

02:58 AM

Latest update from US correspondent Jamie Johnson in New York

It wasn’t supposed to be this easy.

In her last two matches Emma Raducanu had an early wobble and lost her first service game, going 2-0 down before staging a comeback.

Tonight, that pattern looked to be repeating itself as she fell 40-15 down on serve in the first game.

But instead of waiting two games to dig deep, Raducanu snapped out of the slump straight away, taking the game to deuce and then winning it.

Remarkably, she then broke Sakkari - one of the biggest servers on tour and who lost only two points on her first serve in her last match.

From then on, Raducanu took control. 3-0, another Sakkari break to make it 4-0, a hold of serve to make it 5-0. Sakkari only held serve at the third time of asking, closing the gap to 5-1.

Raducanu ensured there was no comeback and won her 17th set in a row at this tournament in just 36 minutes.

She looks calm and collected, playing with poise and control, dominating rallies from the back of the court.

She’s halfway to the US Open final.

02:55 AM

Raducanu* 6-1 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Longest rally of the match, 17 shots and Raducanu comes out on top again. Wide Raducanu serve catches out Sakkari again, 30-15. Two set points after another unreturned serve.

Sakkari return long and Raducanu takes the opening set. An immaculate set of tennis by the teen.

02:51 AM

Raducanu 5-1 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Sakkari is trying to get herself fired up and she does it with a terrific angled forehand to move 30-15 ahead. She double faults again, 40-30.

But she finally gets on the board when Raducanu goes long.

02:46 AM

Raducanu* 5-0 Sakkari (*denotes server)

Sakkari backhand into the net, 15-15. Sakkari backhand return long, 30-15. Sakkari overhits on the forehand side this time and it's 40-15.

Raducanu hits a poor drop shot but stays strong at the net to hold and claim her fifth game in a row.

02:42 AM

Raducanu 4-0 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Sakkari leaves the court for a swift change of attire. Thankfully doesn't take as long as her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Another Sakkari double fault and it's 15-30. Sakkari forehand winner after a big first serve, 40-30.

Lovely feel at the net by Raducanu to finish with a volley winner, deuce. Blistering backhand down the line by Raducanu is too hot for Sakkari, break point. Fantastic return by Raducanu but even better response by Sakkari to get the ball back in play and draw the error.

Sakkari backhand winner, lovely shot. Very tight forehand by Sakkari, flies well long.

Raducanu backhand winner down the line. Wow. Second break point. Sakkari double fault. Raducanu breaks again. Wowzers.

02:33 AM

Raducanu* 3-0 Sakkari (*denotes server)

A backhand winner followed by a forehand winner for Sakkari, 0-30. Raducanu backhand long and it's three break back points.

Raducanu saves the first when Sakkari nets a return. Then the second when Sakkari nets a defensive backhand. One to go.

Sakkari with a wild forehand wide. She's 0 for 6 on break points so far. She then earns a 7th but Raducanu saves again with an unreturned first serve.

And she holds to complete a fabolous start to the match.

02:28 AM

Raducanu 2-0 Sakkari* (*denotes server)

Sakkari nets a backhand, 15-30. Double fault Sakkari, two break points for Raducanu. Sakkari nets a backhand slice and Raducanu breaks.

Sakkari very tight early on. Raducanu must capitalise and keep her foot on the gas.

02:23 AM

First set: Emma Raducanu* 1-0 Maria Sakkari (*denotes server)

Sakkari comes out on top in the opening point of the match. Raducanu then hits a defensive backhand, 0-30. Raducanu ace, 15-30. Raducanu goes just long with a forehand down the line, two break points.

Raducanu saves the first when Sakkari puts a forehand long. And the second when she drills a backhand winner into the corner.

Raducanu nets a backhand, third break point for Sakkari. But she puts another forehand long.

Raducanu ace and she comes through that early scare when Sakkari nets a backhand. Great start.

02:17 AM

Prediction time

Who are you backing? Greg Rusedski and Annabel Croft both reckon Sakkari will get the win due to her greater experience. We don't want to hear that!

02:16 AM

Tale of the tape: Emma Raducanu vs Maria Sakkari

Age: 18 - 26

Nationality: British - Greek

Height: 5ft 7in - 5ft 8in

World ranking: 150 - 18

Career singles titles: 0 - 1

Career prize money: $303,376 - $4.4million

Grand slam titles: 0 - 0

US Open best: Semi-final 2021 - Semi-final 2021

Head-to-head wins: 0 - 0

02:14 AM

Here we go!

Raducanu walks onto court and has a beaming smile. She looks ready for this moment.

We have the coin toss. Sakkari wins it and opts to receive serve. Smart choice that, putting pressure on Raducanu early.

02:06 AM

History makers

Before Raducanu and Sakkari come onto court, there is a presentation celebrating the 'Original Nine'—the pioneering group of women who paved the way for the birth of women's professional tennis

01:58 AM

Some pre-match Emma Raducanu vs Maria Sakkari reading

To whet the appetite, here are some pieces by the Telegraph.

01:53 AM

Fernandez speaks

I have no idea! It is thanks to the New York crowd, they have helped me and cheered for me and never gave up for me, they fought for me. Thank you, New York!

That is years of hard work and tears and blood on court and sacrifices, I really wanted it, I fought for every point, Aryna fought for the same thing and I don't know how I got the last point in but I am glad I'm in the final.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - SHUTTERSTOCK
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - SHUTTERSTOCK

01:48 AM

It must be something in the maple syrup!

01:38 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - result

Scoreboard pressure tells as Sabalenka doubles to fall 0-30 down. Another double fault gives Fernandez three match points.

And Fernandez does it when Sabalenka puts a forehand well long. Incredible scenes.

01:35 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

We are in the business end of the third set now. Fernandez holds to 15 to move just a game away from the final.

She leads 5-4 on serve and Sabalenka now serves to stay in the match.

01:26 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

Both players are in the zone and it has led to consecutive breaks on Arthur Ashe.

First, Sabalenka is broken from 40-15 for Fernandez to lead 4-2. Then Sabalenka breaks back straight away at the fourth opportunity. The pressure is well and truly on.

It's 7-6 4-6 4-3 and on serve.

01:18 AM

'Her standard of play is top 20 at the moment'

Emma Raducanu has the talent and mentality to ensure her extraordinary summer surge is far from a flash in the pan, according to Jo Durie, the last British woman to reach the US Open semi-finals in 1983.

It's just remarkable - even though in the tennis world we knew Emma was a good player, I'm not sure anybody thought the last few months would be like this. Her trajectory has just been this graph that goes straight up, and that hardly ever happens in the game. It is just astonishing, especially when we saw at Wimbledon how well she played then what she went through trying to cope with it.

I think we thought, well she could come through qualifying. But to reach the semi-finals without losing a set, and most of the sets have been quite easy, that's quite a different thing. Her standard of play is top 20 at the moment.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES

01:11 AM

Raducanu gets ready...

I dread to think what would happen if I tried this...

12:58 AM

Latest update from US correspondent Jamie Johnson in New York

Courtside footage of Sabalenka taking the second set...

12:53 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

If you are just joining us thinking Raducanu's match would be starting, think again.

Sabalenka looked to be on the ropes but she's taken the second set 6-4 to force a decider on Arthur Ashe for the US Open final.

12:49 AM

Throwback Friday

12:43 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

Fernandez is just two games away from becoming the youngest US Open finalist since Serena Williams in 1999.

She leads 7-6, 4-3 against an uncomfortable and frustrated Sabalenka.

12:34 AM

Latest update from US correspondent Jamie Johnson in New York

Jamie Murray, who is through to the final of the men's doubles was asked about his thoughts on Raducanu's chances tonight.

Well, it's difficult to say something, because you feel like you're putting pressure on her if you say that she's got a great chance to win

Has she got a great chance to win? Yeah, why not? She's beaten everyone she's played so far pretty convincingly. I think it was probably good for her that Pliskova lost last night, because I think just less firepower to deal with Sakkari, not that I don't think she's a top player, because she is and she's been kind of on this trajectory, as well.

But I think it's a better matchup for Emma personally. It's been amazing to watch her at Wimbledon and then, fast-forward seven, eight weeks, she's doing the same thing here. I believe that she will be a top player for a long time. British tennis I think has got someone to follow for another 15 years, I think.

12:24 AM

Clutch tennis by Fernandez

12:14 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

Fernandez comes back from 1-4 and saves a set point to take the tiebreak over a nervy Sabalenka 7-6(3).

12:10 AM

Guaranteed British winner at the US Open

Britain will have a US Open winner this year with Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury facing off against each other in the final of the men's doubles on Friday.

Murray, a seven-time doubles grand slam champion, and his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares, overcame tricky eighth seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 at Flushing Meadows.

The Scot could become Britain’s most successful grand slam champion in the open era, overtaking Virginia Wade, if he and Soares defeat Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram at 5pm.

“It's not like it happens very often that there are two Brits going into a Grand Slam final,” said Murray last night.

“I guess that adds a different dimension to the match, but I think for us, we're excited to be there, excited to have that opportunity again.

“I don't feel extra pressure because I'm playing another British guy, just knowing everything I have gone through and we have gone through this year.”

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - AP
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - AP

Ram and Salisbury, who represented Team GB at the Olympics and is the fourth ranked doubles player in the world, saw off Americans Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey 7-6 (5), 6-4 under a closed roof at the Louis Armstrong Stadium.

After the match, The Briton said “Obviously we are excited to come through. We knew it was going to be a tough match. They are a very dangerous team.”

Salisbury, 29, who won the 2020 Australian Open with Ram and the 2021 French Open in mixed doubles with Desirae Krawczyk is familiar with his next opponents.

“We have played Jamie and Bruno quite a few times before and know them really well,” he said.

Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES
Emma Raducanu Maria Sakkari US Open 2021 live updates latest score - GETTY IMAGES

By Jamie Johnson in New York

12:02 AM

Leylah Fernandez vs Aryna Sabalenka - latest

Before Raducanu's match gets underway, the first semi-final between Fernandez and Sabalenka is ongoing.

And we are into a tiebreak after an engrossing match. Huge hitting from both players so far!

11:45 PM

Latest update from US correspondent Jamie Johnson in New York

Emma Raducanu was all smiles when she took to the Arthur Ashe court for her final practice session earlier this evening.

Keen to work on her service returns, she asked one of her coaches to fire tennis balls to her left and right at speed from within the baseline.

At one point, an almighty shout of “foot fault” rang out across the arena, making everyone jump.

Officials were testing the line judge microphones, prompting the young Briton and her team to start laughing.

After half an hour, Maria Sakkari arrived on scene and the two exchanged warm smiles. Sakkari fired cross court shots towards two coaches stationed at each side of the opposite baseline.

She also practiced precision returning, aiming forehands at cones which had been placed in the corner of the court.

11:36 PM

Hello!

Welcome to coverage of a potentially historic moment in British tennis.

18-year-old Emma Raducanu needs to win just two sets to reach a maiden Grand Slam final in just the second major tournament of her career.

To achieve it, the teenager must beat Greece's Maria Sakkari for a place in Saturday's women's final. Two months ago, Raducanu reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in July, only to withdraw from her clash with Ajla Tomljanovic due to breathing difficulties. But Anne Keothavong believes Raducanu's efforts in New York have proved she's "the real deal".

"What happened at Wimbledon was unfortunate of course, but it was all so new to her," said Britain's Billie Jean King Cup captain Keothavong.

"You've got to remember it was only her third professional tournament back since the pandemic. "It was all very new, there was a lot going on. But the way she's bounced back has shown everyone who did have their doubts what she's made of. She really is the real deal."

Raducanu is yet to drop a set in the tournament, blasting her past opponents to reach the last four. And her exploits mean she will become the new British number one next week, jumping into the world's top 50 and surpassing Jo Konta.

"She's not a player who breaks down very easily," Keothavong told BBC Radio Four. "Everyone is amazed at how well she's been able to embrace the situation and run with it. It's caught everyone by surprise. I don't think anyone can wipe that smile off her face."

In a possible attempt at mind games, Sakkari has claimed she won't be the favourite going into the match. "She's a new player on tour so I don't know much about her," Sakkari said following her 6-4, 6-4 quarter-final win over Karolina Pliskova.

"Obviously she's having the tournament of her life. She deserves to be here. She has won all these matches. But I wouldn't call myself the favourite. I think we all have equal chances of winning the semi-finals and then winning the title. I would give 25 per cent to each starting tomorrow, then 50 to the two finalists.

"We are all here for a reason. We're all playing well. It was not like we had five walkovers. I'm excited to play a second semi-final this year."