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Leylah Fernandez kept going...into the semis at the US Open.  Awesome belated 19th birthday present...the actual birthday was yesterday.  She's jumped from #73 in the world to #36...which means she's borderline to get seeded at a slam.  32 seeds...but 4 of the top 32 going into the tournament, didn't play, so she would've been the 32 seed had she been #36 at the start of the Open.  NOT true now;  Serena Williams dropped from 22 to 40, so it would only be 3 nominally-seeded players.  But obviously, it means she's right on the edge.

 

And this hasn't been a soft road.  She beat Osaka earlier, and Svitolina today, who was the 5 seed.

 

The women's rankings have been very volatile for several years, for the most part.  But this year...for the first 3 Slams, there were 24 slots in the quarterfinals, and 22 different players have filled them.  Yep.  Only 2 players had made the quarters twice.  Not the semis or finals, the quarters.  And that kind of form held at the Open, I believe.  But this year's been only an escalation of the pattern;  early-round upsets have been dime a dozen for the last several years.  A change this year has been, this is beginning to hit the men's side.  5 of the top 9 seeds lost in the round of 64 or 32, and 3 unseeded players reached the QF.  Heck, Djokovic has lost the opening set in 3 of his 4 matches so far.  Then took the next 3...but still.  It's very surprising for a #1 seed to drop that many sets in the relatively early stages.

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And Emma Raducanu has just beaten Belinda Bencic to reach the semis.

 

Her summer has been INSANELY good.  She literally just came onto the WTA tour in June.  Before Wimbledon, she was ranked in the 300's...which is the middle of nowhere in career terms.  Wimbledon jumped her ranking.  But THIS...she started the Open at about 150.  This win *vaults* her to around 50th...I think it's 51 right now.  That's like going from undrafted free agent to the Pro Bowl in your rookie season.  She's also the first *ever* to reach the US Open semis as a qualifier.  

 

And she isn't even 19 yet.

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OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!

 

SHE DID IT!!!!!  

Leylah Fernandez just beat Sabalenka...who got REALLY tight at the end, in several games...to make the FINALS!!!! of the Open.  In an INCREDIBLE run.  She's beaten the #15, 5, 3, and 2 seeds so far.

 

This moves her from the mid 60's ranking, into the top 30...and quadrupled her career earnings.  Even if she loses...a cool $1.25M so far.

My only concern is whether this will be TOO much, this early.  I remember Sloane Stephens beating Serena, when Sloane was 19.  Stephens has had a good career, but potentially damaged by excessive expectations after that.  And clearly, the expectations for Fernandez will be *astronomical.*

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I'll admit she's done a lot better than I thought she would. I know she's won a lot of hearts, but I'm not yet a fan for some reason. Not sure why.

 

In any case I hope success doesn't go to her head. That's what happened to Bouchard, although the media is partly to blame for that.

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I'm neutral there.  What it is, tho, is absolutely amazing.  Granted:  teenage Slam winners have precedent on the women's side, even as recently as 2019.  (By comparison, in tennis it'd be a complete shocker these days...altho some of that is simply that Nadal, Fed, and Joker have been SO dominant.  But the men's game is SO power-dominated that I think it's very, very hard for a teenager to pull off a run like this, or Raducanu's.  

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There has been more mobility in women's tennis than in men's. Mostly it's because of the Big Three/Four being so dominant. On the women's side, Serena dominated for a long time, so it was a battle for second place. But in recent years the field has opened up a lot for the ladies. To be fair, a lot of the young men have taken their places among the top spots, and eventually they'll be displacing the Big Three.

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Yeah...but NOT LIKE THIS!!!!

 

Raducanu 1 and 4.  Has NOT LOST A SET.  Draw opened up for her but that's still AMAZING.  Raducanu has jumped up 118 spots in the ranking...that's unheard of.  First qualifier to make a GS final in the open era...any of the slams, male or female.

 

My speakers are older than Fernandez and Raducanu combined.  So's my stained glass, Murano squirrel, or my hand-painted Tut papyrus...my 2 big souvenirs from the trip to Europe in my college years.

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Raducanu wins the final.

I cannot recall a qualifier in tennis winning. I am legally old enough to be her grandfather and I did not accomplish anything in any area at that age. It is amazing.

The last time Britain had a Woman Grand Slam Tennis winner was 1977 at Wimbledon. This was the Queen's Silver Jubilee. 44 years. Odd thing is when the Men broke the drought to win a Grand Slam it was in America as well.

So Cavendish, Kenny and Raducanu for Sports Personality of the Year.

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Was watching football.

 

Raducanu is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the open era.

 

Pretty darn good chance that she'll win Sportswoman of the Year.  To go from #338 in the world, to #23 (!) literally in one calendar *season*...she was 338 in late June, the start of summer, and we haven't hit the equinox just yet...would be called impossible before this.

 

And hooo boy, here's your time travel bet.  Raducanu over Fernandez...Raducanu was 250-1 to win it, Fernandez 150-1, so figure you could get...let's call it 80-1.  So the parlay would be just 20,000 to 1.  Cha-CHING!!!

 

As I mentioned before, tho, I hope she can handle the *overwhelming* attention and expectation that will now come *crashing* down onto her.  

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The BBC do a vote called Sports Personality of the Year at year end.

Now there are three contenders:- 

Raducanu for being the first qualifier to win a Tennis Grand Slam

Mark Cavendish for winning the Sprints Jersey at the Tour de France and equalling the stage winning record. He came back from a virus and injury winning a stage for the first time in 4 years.

Jason Kenny won Olympic Gold and now has more golds than any other British athlete

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The chase for history falls just short.

 

Medvedev is VERY tight, trying to close it out, but takes out Djokovic 4, 4, and 4.  Only broken once...at 5-2, 2 breaks up in the third.

 

From what I saw throughout the tournament, Djokovic was feeling the pressure;  too many first sets dropped.  And I think he was tired;  with the Olympics it's been a long year for him, and he actually had to play quite a bit more than one might've expected, through the early rounds.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if he takes a long break...but the next few notable events, in Asia, have all been cancelled anyway.  So he's got, IIRC, at least a month before Indian Wells, and then the Paris Masters.

 

So Medvedev gets his first.  

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That was anticlimactic! Disappointed that Djokovic couldn't achieve the Calendar Grand Slam, but he did seem vulnerable this tournament. He always seemed tired and lost the first set consistently. The five set match against Zverev probably did him in as much as the pressure to get the Calendar Grand Slam. He just seemed to have nothing left in the tank. I knew it was over for him the minute he smashed his racquet in the second set.

 

That said, respect to Medvedev. He played really well the entire tournament, and he is a worthy champion in his own right.

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