Without question the most cray-cray major, period, I’ve ever seen.
The women’s final this Saturday will have Emma Raducanu, an 18 y.o. who’s the first-ever qualifier to make the final of a major in the open era, against Leyla Annie Fernandez, a 19 y.o. (and one week) who’s also playing her first major.
They are both absolutely amazing to watch. These petite firecrackers hit consistently for pace from the base line - their sustained power from these mitey mites is astonishing, easily counterpunching heavy hitters like Sabilenka and Sakkari. Their servng form is lethal, putting all returners back on their heels. Funny hearing commentators talk about them as human backboards, or about them during matches where neither are playing, or, as Chrissie Evert summed up after Emma’s last win, “I’ve never seen anything like this in Arthur Ashe. Ever.”
On their way to the final, Emma had to win three qualis first (during a mini heat wave) and then another six, while Leyla upset Osaka, Kerber, Svitolina, and Sabilenka. I was blown away, at the end of one of Lelya’s gruelling three-set upsets, by her dazzlingly ebullient “I feel GREAT!” response when asked - right immediately after the match - how she was feeling. The way her face lit up, and talking as though she hadn’t been playing, it was evident that she and Emma have arrived.
They’ve certainly enjoyed the advantage of their opponents not knowing their game. The two met once before, when they were 15, in Jr. Wimbledon, the game going to Emma 6-4, 6-2. Bigger stage this time, of course, so, we’ll see!
This Canuck is also pleased to see not only Montrealer Emma still in contention, but also hailing from the same city is 21 y.o. Felix Auger Aliassime, who’s the first Canadian to reach a men’s US Open final, and first man born in the 2000’s to reach a major final. Unfortunately his semi win resulted from a Carlos Alcarez injury.
I never found out why Alcarez had to withdraw. He lost the first set, and soon, in the second, just up and said that’s it. Looked ok to me. Alcarez is yet another out-of-the-blue 18-year-old, upsetting Tsitsipas. A spunky, fiesty (and sometimes quirky/funny) hard-hitter - safe to say he’s arrived, too.
Yeah, this Saturday two little Energizer bunnies’ll be goin at it.