Has a qualifier ever won a Tennis Grand Slam event?
Yes, Emma Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a tennis grand slam on either the ATP or WTA Tours when she beat Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3 at the 2021 US Open. Between the qualifying rounds and her main draw matches, Emma played a total of 10 matches on her way to lifting the trophy and collecting her well deserved prize money of $2.5 million.
Previous to this no qualifier had gotten further than the semifinals in any of the four grand slam events. On the men’s side, John McEnroe reached the semifinals of the 1977 Wimbledon championships losing to Jimmy Connors in four sets. Other notable performances by qualifiers include Filip Dewulf who reached the semifinals of the 1997 French Open (lost to Gustavo Kuerten in 4) and Vladimir Voltchkov who reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon Championships in 2000 (lost to Pete Sampras in 3 sets).
Many people think that Goran Ivanišević was a qualifier when he won the 2001 Wimbledon Championships but in fact, he was given a wildcard to play so he did not have to play in the qualifiers.
On the women’s side, before Emma’s US Open win, the best performance by a qualifier was Alexandra Stevenson’s run to the semis at the 1999 Wimbledon Championships (lost to Lindsay Davenport in 2 sets)
Emma Raducanu US Open Matches (Qualifying and Main Draw)
Emma won a total of 10 matches (3 qualifying rounds and 7 main draw rounds) to lift the trophy without dropping a set.
|Final||Leylah Fernandez||73||6-4, 6-3|
|Semifinal||Maria Sakkari||18||6-1, 6-4|
|Quarterfinal||Belinda Bencic||12||6-3, 6-4|
|Round of 16||Shelby Rogers||43||6-2, 6-1|
|Round of 32||Sara Sorribes Tormo||41||6-0, 6-1|
|Round of 64||Shuai Zhang||49||6-2, 6-4|
|Round of 128||Stefanie Voegele||128||6-2, 6-3|
|Qualifying Round 3||Mayar Sherif||96||6-1, 6-4|
|Qualifying Round 2||Mariam Bolkvadze||167||6-3, 7-5|
|Qualifying Round 1||Bibiane Schoofs||285||6-1, 6-2|