Tennis: Who are US Open teen sensations Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez?

Emma Raducanu (left) and Leylah Annie Fernandez continued their stunning run to reach the semi-finals of the US Open. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Teenagers Emma Raducanu of Britain and Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada continued their stunning run to reach the semi-finals of the US Open while upsetting big name players including defending champion Naomi Osaka and Olympic champion Belinda Bencic.

Here are a few things to know about them.

Emma Raducanu, 18, Britain

1. Raducanu was born in Toronto, Canada to a Romanian father and Chinese mother before moving to London aged two.

2. Raducanu started playing tennis when she was five and made her main WTA debut in June in Nottingham. A month later, she made her Grand Slam debut at this year's Wimbledon on a wildcard where she became the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open era.

Raducanu, then world No. 338, later retired from her fourth-round match due to breathing difficulties. Following her impressive run in New York, Raducanu is expected to replace world No. 47 Johanna Konta as the British No. 1 when the rankings are released on Monday (Sept 13).

3. Following her victory over newly-crowned Swiss Olympic gold medallist Bencic, Raducanu is the first qualifier to reach the semi-finals of the US Open and has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows.

The current world No. 150 has also replaced Fernandez as the youngest woman to reach the US Open semi-finals since Maria Sharapova in 2005, a record Fernandez held for about 20 hours.

Raducanu joins Billie Jean King (1979) and the 2009 champion, Kim Clijsters, as the only women outside the top 100 to reach the US Open semi-finals. For a place in the final on Saturday, Raducanu will have to get past Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari who upset Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals.

4. When she was nine, Raducanu started motocross riding and had a short go-karting career. While those days are behind her, she is a fan of Formula One and even watched the Austrian Grand Prix on television in her room during Wimbledon.

Leylah Annie Fernandez, 19, Canada

1. Fernandez was born in Montreal and is also of mixed heritage, with an Ecuadorean father and Filipino-Canadian mother.

2. In 2019, Fernandez won the French Open girls' singles title to become the first Canadian female winner of a junior Grand Slam since Eugenie Bouchard at 2012 Wimbledon. She made her Grand Slam debut at the 2020 Australian Open and won her first WTA title at the Monterrey Open, a WTA250 tournament, in March this year without dropping a set. She reached a career high of world No. 66 in June this year.

3. World No. 73 Fernandez has had an impressive run in New York, reaching the semi-finals on Tuesday (Sept 7), a day after she turned 19. She recorded stunning upsets over past US Open champions Naomi Osaka (third round) and Angelique Kerber (fourth round) as well as fifth seed Elina Svitolina (quarter-finals).

When asked why Canadian players are doing so well in the US Open this year, she jokingly put it down to maple syrup. But she now faces another tough challenge in second seed Aryna Sabalenka who beat Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcíková earlier in the quarter-finals.

4. Fernandez has a sweet tooth and, according to her bio on the WTA website, especially enjoys molten lava chocolate cake.

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