San Francisco Chronicle

2 U.S. Open teens soar in rankings


Emma Raducanu’s qualifier-to-champion run at the U.S. Open vaulted her 127 spots in the WTA rankings to a careerhigh No. 23.

The 18-year-old from Britain began the year ranked 345th, rose to 179th in July by reaching Wimbledon’s fourth round in her Grand Slam debut and arrived at Flushing Meadows at 150th. Then Raducanu won all 20 sets she played across 10 victories — three in qualifying and seven in the main draw — to become the youngest woman to win a major championsh­ip since Maria Sharapova was 17 at Wimbledon in 2004.

Raducanu is the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title.

The player she beat 6-4, 6-3 in the final Saturday, 19-yearold Leylah Fernandez of Canada, also made a big jump in the rankings, going from 73rd to a career-best 28th.

Ash Barty and Aryna Sabalenka stayed at Nos. 1 and 2. Two-time U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka slid from 3 to 5 after losing in the third round to Fernandez.

Karolina Pliskova is third and Elina Svitolina fourth after each moved up a spot by getting to the Open quarterfin­als.

No. 1 Novak Djokovic is still comfortabl­y ahead of No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the ATP rankings after Medvedev beat Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the U.S. Open men’s final Sunday. That prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam — and from breaking the men’s career record of 20 major titles he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

⏩ The season-ending WTA Finals have been moved from China to Guadalajar­a, Mexico, the WTA said. The tournament was to be held in the Chinese city of Shenzhen in November. The WTA didn’t give a reason but said the event would be in Shenzhen next year. Shenzhen first hosted the WTA Finals in 2019 — there was no event last year — and is due to remain host through 2030.

WNBA: Kelsey Plum scored 26 of her 30 points in the second half, A’ja Wilson had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the host Las Vegas Aces beat the Dallas Wings 85-75. Las Vegas (22-8) can clinch a double-bye in the playoffs with one win in its final two games.

NHL: The Columbus Blue Jackets have replaced assistant coach Sylvain Lefebvre, who declined to get a COVID-19 vaccinatio­n, because he “thus will not be able to perform the duties required of him given current NHL protocols,” according to a statement. NHL coaches and other staff who closely interact with players are required to be fully vaccinated.

Judo: Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine has been banned from competitio­n for 10 years by the Internatio­nal Judo Federation after his withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympics to avoid a potential bout against an Israeli opponent.

Nourine’s coach, IJF Hall of Famer Amar Benikhlef, also received a 10-year ban.

Nourine withdrew in Tokyo after learning he could face Olympic bronze medalist Tohar Butbul in the second round of men’s lightweigh­t competitio­n at the Budokan. Nourine and Benikhlef told Algerian media they quit to express support for Palestinia­ns.

The ban effectivel­y ends the competitiv­e career of Nourine, a 30-year-old three-time gold medalist in the African Judo Championsh­ips.

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