This meeting is the first Grand Slam final between teenagers since the 1999 U.S. Open, when Serena Williams, 17, beat Martina Hingis, 18.
Fernandez will be trying to give Canada its second 19-year-old champion in three years, after Bianca Andreescu beat Williams to win the 2019 title.
If that match felt like a changing of the guard in women’s tennis, well, Saturday’s final seems like another sped-up version of that, pitting players born 2 months apart in 2002.
Raducanu still remembers watching the 2011 French Open final, when Li Na became the first player from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title in a match viewed by more than 115 million people in China.
“I think for me, having a Chinese mom, she definitely instilled from a young age hard work, discipline,” Raducanu said. “I think for me, when I was younger, I would take a lot of inspiration from Li Na, even now, just the way she was such a fierce competitor.”
Jorge Fernandez sees his wife’s influence providing the same fighting spirit on his daughter’s game.
“She’s got Filipino blood in her,” he said. “It’s beautiful.”
Their pursuit of tennis success from opposite sides of the Atlantic made it difficult for Fernandez and Raducanu to keep up the relationship that started when they bonded over their Canadian roots during a tournament in Florida.