When Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez take the field on Sunday for the U.S. Open final, they’ll have played in three Olympic Games.
Fernandez, 15, will become the youngest girl since Liza Epstein of 1947 to win a women’s U.S. Open tennis tournament. Raducanu, 18, will become the first top-10 female American player to reach the final since Serena Williams in 2000.
The two are both playing in the year’s first Grand Slam, and both have lost in the quarterfinals. It’s been a heavy tournament for Fernandez, who fell to Williams in the fourth round, then played her way to the final. In the four matches she’s lost, Fernandez has taken a grand total of 22 games. Raducanu has not lost a set.
Both are the youngest members of the Long Island team that trains and plays together. They grew up together on Long Island, and have been training with the same coaches for the past four years. Their training coach is Mike Posch, who has also worked with Andre Agassi and Monica Seles. He’s been a key player in helping the two beat top-10-ranked players, Francesca Schiavone and Caroline Wozniacki.
Fernandez lost to Wozniacki earlier this month in Charleston, but she’s confident about her chances against Raducanu, who beat the former world No. 1 and No. 1 player in the world, Angelique Kerber, in the quarterfinals.
“She’s been playing great,” Fernandez said of Raducanu. “I think she’s kind of the best player in the world for a reason. She has power and footwork. So definitely she’s going to be the top player, and I’m looking forward to playing her and see how we can settle this and play her.”