> 'Shocked' tennis sensation Emma Raducanu, 18, achieves one of Britain's greatest sporting victories after becoming the country's first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years following her thrilling triumph in the US Open Raducanu, 18, beat 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3, at Flushing Meadows on Saturday night. Raducanu makes history as the first Briton to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 . She has also become the first qualifier - in either the men's or women's game - to win a major title. 'I'm still just so shocked, still in the moment,' Raducanu said afterwards. 'I can't believe I came through that last service game. It honestly means absolutely everything to hold this trophy. I just don't want to let go' . Her victory earned congratulations from the Queen, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Boris Johnson. The first set was a nail-biter, with the games toing and froing from deuce to advantage and back to deuce . But in the second set, Fernandez's wayward serving ultimately let her down and Raducanu pulled ahead Raducanu wins £1.8m - more than eight times her current career earnings - and moves from rank 150 to 23 . Emma Raducanu achieved one of Britain's greatest sporting victories last night, winning the US Open in a thrilling final to become the country's first female Grand Slam champion in 44 years. The 18-year-old from Kent fell to the ground and put her hands over her face after beating the 19-year-old Canadian 6-4, 6-3, in front of an enthralled Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows. Raducanu, who was sitting her A-levels earlier this year, became the first Brit to win a major since Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 and is the first qualifier to triumph in a Grand Slam, in either the men's or women's game. Life will never be the same again for the teenager as she claims a £1.8 million cheque - more than her entire career winnings to date - and soars up the rankings from 150 to 23. 'I'm still just so shocked, still in the moment,' Raducanu said afterwards. 'I can't believe I came through that last service game. It honestly means absolutely everything to hold this trophy. I just don't want to let go.' She was joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who hailed her 'stunning performances and historic Grand Slam victory!' Boris Johnson said 'we are all hugely proud of you' as he praised Raducanu's 'extraordinary skill, poise and guts.' Tennis pundits heralded the victory as not simply an historic triumph for a British player, but as a landmark victory for the sport. 'It's a miracle' said former Wimbledon champion Chris Evert. 'This is a kid no one had ever heard of until a couple of weeks ago. Now she's the biggest name in sport. She's stolen all our hearts.' After her victory, Raducanu planted a kiss on the silver trophy and beamed at the adoring 24,000 fans inside the Arthur Ashe. The Briton said: 'Thank you to everyone here in New York for making me feel so at home from my first qualifying match all the way through to the finals. Leylah's always going to play great tennis and always going to fight… I knew I had to dig deep.