Canadian tennis player Leylah Fernandez, who turned 19 this week, and 18-year-old British player Emma Raducanu both won upset semifinal victories at the U.S. Open on Thursday, earning the right to face each other in the final Grand Slam of the season. "Over the past two weeks, they have turned the U.S. Open into joyous coming-out parties that have thrilled the crowds at Arthur Ashe Stadium and left the Grand Slam aspirations of more seasoned and accomplished players in tatters," The Washington Post reports.
Fernandez, ranked 73rd in the world and playing in her second U.S. Open, beat the world's No. 2 player, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-4. To get to the semifinals she had to win upset victories over defending U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber, and Elina Svitolina, ranked No. 5 in the world.
Raducanu, "who just this summer finished her high school A level exams in Britain," the Post notes, toppled 17th seed Maria Sakkari of Greece, 6-1, 6-4. Coming into the tournament ranking 150th in the world, she had to win three qualifying matches to earn a spot in the tournament. Now, Raducanu is the first qualifier to play in the U.S. Open finals and the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final since 1977.
Fernandez and Raducanu will play each other in the finals on Saturday. If Raducanu wins, she will be the youngest Grand Slam winner since Maria Sharapova, then 17, triumphed at Wimbledon in 2004.