The two players took the tennis world by storm twenty-five months ago when they pulled off a surprise run to the final of the 2021 US Open. Both were still teenagers at the time, with the then 19-year-old Fernandez ranked World No. 73 while 18-year-old Raducanu was No. 150 in the world.
In the final, the British player became the first unseeded qualifier to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era, defeating Fernandez 6-4, 6-3. However, both players have had their fair share of struggles since that historic match, including a string of disappointing results.
Fernandez says Raducanu has potential for great results
Nevertheless, the Canadian player experienced a resurgence at the WTA 250 Hong Kong Open this week, defeating Mirra Andreeva, Linda Fruhvirtova, and Anna Blinkova before fighting back from a set down against Kateřina Siniaková in the final to win her first WTA Tour-level title in 18 months.
Following her victory, Fernandez opened up on the difficulties she and Raducanu had to face following their rapid rise to fame in New York.
"2021 was a special tournament for both of us, we both did extraordinary things not many people get to experience. I was able to beat a couple of top-10 players, ex-champions. Emma, she came through the qualifying, so we both had to go through some difficulties, and afterwards, I think it was hard on both of us adjusting to the new life.
"But at least for me, I tried to surround myself with a great group of people," she said.
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Raducanu has been absent from the sport since April of this year when she announced that she was undergoing surgery on her wrists and ankle. Since then, she has posted updates of her recovery and her return to training as she aims to come back to the WTA Tour in 2024.
Fernandez shared her thoughts on her fellow player's comeback, expressing her hopes to compete against Raducanu at "the highest level" again.
"I know Emma is working hard, I know she is hungry, she has something to prove, so I’m sure she’s going to come back and play some great tennis. Hopefully we do see her because she is great for the sport. She has got something special for the WTA and for women’s tennis. Hopefully we can both compete at the highest level once again side by side," she continued.