Teen Sensations Leylah Fernandez, Emma Raducanu Aiming to Make History at US Open (Sept. 11)
Credit: TPN, Getty. Leylah Fernandez celebrates at the US Open.
One of two impossible things will happen at the US Open on Saturday.
Either a 250-1 underdog will become the biggest longshot or the first qualifier in the Open Era will win a Grand Slam tennis title.
The US Open has already been a crazy tournament filled with upsets and five set thrillers, but the craziest story of all may be finalized when Leylah Fernandez meets Emma Raducanu for the crown.
On Aug. 30, Fernandez was available at +25000 to win the tournament outright, while Raducanu was available at +8000, per PointsBet, though both were even longer in some places.
✨ THE FAIRYTALE CONTINUES ✨
— espnW (@espnW) September 10, 2021
But Fernandez's run to the final is likely more remarkable than her 250-1 tag suggests. The Canadian teenager has been an underdog in all but one of her matches, going through some of the biggest stars en route to the final.
The world No. 73 has defeated four seeds, including third-ranked Naomi Osaka (+400), No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka (+275), No. 5 Elina Svitolina and 16th-ranked Angelique Kerber.
If a $100 bettor placed a moneyline wager on Fernandez prior to her first-round match against Ana Konjuh and rolled over the winnings onto a ML bet in each succeeding match, the bettor would currently have $77,112 and a shot at $173,502 if she were to win as a +125 underdog in the final.
For perspective, Flavia Pennetta is currently the biggest underdog per oddsmakers to win a Grand Slam title, via her a 150-1 win in 2015. Fernandez would blow that out of the water. Other underdog champions include Jelena Ostapenko at the 2017 French Open (80-1) and Goran Ivanisevic, who wasn't listed as an individual, but rather with the field at 25-1 at the 2001 Wimbledon.
Raducanu's run is incredible in her own right, with the Brit already making history by becoming the first qualifier to reach a slam final in the open era. Aslan Karatsev almost did it earlier this year at the Australian Open, when he made history by reaching the semifinal in Melbourne.
The numbers behind both players' runs display just how different they are, per The Action Network's Sean Zerillo:
Fernandez has been in a battle nearly every time she has stepped on the court. In her last four matches, she's been engaged in three-set fights, dropping the first set on two occasions.
Raducanu, on the other hand, hasn't been pushed to a tiebreaker once in her matches, including in qualifying. Despite playing three more matches than Fernandez, Raducanu has run more than a mile less and been on the court an hour less.
A piece of British sporting history!
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) September 10, 2021
One could assume fatigue is coming for the 19-year-old, but if it comes for Fernandez it might come for Raducanu, who has been on the court a similar amount of time due to qualifying.
The pair's time on court thus far in 2021 exceeds the prior two champions — Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu — but the distance covered on court is even more staggering. The combined distance Raducanu and Fernandez have covered on court is 2.5 times that of the combined distance for Osaka and Andreescu.
If you're wondering what it means for sportsbooks, the answer is that they're likely loving the underdog runs.
The largest possible payouts on Fernandez at BetMGM are $3,500 on a $500 bet at 7-1 and a $1,500 payout for a $10 bet at 150-1 odds. For Raducanu, a $500 bet was taken at 3-1 before the semifinal, and in August, a $3 bet was placed at 250-1 odds.
At FanDuel, payouts on Fernandez and Raducanu can be slightly greater, with a $2000 wager placed at +850 on Raducanu as well as a $500 Fernandez bet placed at 17-1. The greatest pre-tournament payout possibility is on a $25 Fernandez bet at 160-1 odds.
The reality is that nearly none of the handles or tickets on US Open futures belonged to Raducanu and Fernandez, highlighting just how incredible the situation is.
When the match kicks off at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, we'll be watching a shot at sporting history.