It wasn’t just semifinal winners that were being celebrated on Arthur Ashe Thursday night.

Nineteen-year-old Leylah Fernandez fought her way past No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4, and the crowd went wild. But as history was being made at the US Open, history was also being celebrated. Billie Jean King and five other members of the Original 9 were honored for their induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, and Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Kerry Melville Reid stood beside King as they were awarded rings to commemorate their bravery and strength over 50 years ago.


The presentation included of a tribute video explaining the significance of the Original 9 for women in sports and shaping the WTA. Female athletes from all over thanked the Original 9, from Abby Wombach to Nelly Korda to Serena Williams. Following speeches and cheers, the members of the Original 9 proudly held $1 bills in honor of their courageous actions as young women.

“Without your courage, we would not have the opportunity that we all have today,” Williams said from the screen.

It was a night to be remembered, as we celebrated the women who started it alongside the future of it. Not only did unseeded Fernandez find herself in the final, but so did 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu. The two will face off in the first all-teen US Open final since 1999 come Saturday, and the members of the Original 9 are sure to be cheering them on.