Two teenagers and newly minted tennis stars, Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu, have essentially become household names overnight as they took top rankings during the U.S. Open.
Fernandez, 18, who is Canadian, beat Osaka after three sets in Friday’s match. Osaka was understandably shaken and upset following the match, which she had won a year ago. She has said she is unsure when she will return to the game.
But the unseeded Fernandez, who is ranked 73rd, was undaunted by Osaka’s star power. “I guess I wanted to stay on the court a little bit longer, and I wanted to put on a show for everybody here,” Fernandez said in a post-match interview, according to the New York Times.
And then there’s British player Raducanu, also 18, who made it to the quarter finals of the Open after beating Shelby Rogers. Raducanu first made her debut at Wimbledon as a wildcard in July — when she was ranked 338th in the sport — and now she will face Olympic champion Belinda Bencic in the semi-finals, according to the BBC.
“It feels absolutely amazing,” Raducanu said in her post-match interview.
Six-time Open champion Williams, often referred to as the GOAT or greatest of all time, is missing this year’s tournament because of a hamstring injury.