But it was Raducanu, 18, who completed the improbable story line at Arthur Ashe Stadium, winning a fiercely contested battle of brave shot-making and defensive grit, 6-4, 6-3, to claim the U.S. Open championship.
Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title in the sport’s Open era. And she did it without conceding a set over 10 matches — three in qualifying, seven during the tournament.
For the achievement, she collected a $2.5 million winner’s check that will boost her year-to-date earnings of $268,191 roughly tenfold.
As runner-up, Fernandez, 19, earned $1.25 million. They were the first teenagers to meet in the U.S. Open final since 1999, when Serena Williams won the first of her 23 major titles at 17, over Martina Hingis. — Liz Clarke