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With Serena Williams pulling out due to fitness issues — even before a ball had been hit — and Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty dispatched in the third round, the fear of a loss of interest in the women’s singles draw at this year’s U.S. Open was palpable.

But no one could have predicted it would be left to two teenagers — ranked 150th and 73rd in the world — to create the kind of frenzied hype in women’s tennis that the sport saw with their fascinating journeys to Saturday’s final.

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