Canada’s newest teen tennis hero is heading to the US Open women’s final.
Leylah Fernández, of Laval, Que., Rallied from a 4-1 initial deficit in the first set to narrowly defeat Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4, securing her first shot in history. a Grand Slam title.
Canadian Leylah Fernández publishes another surprise and wins a place in the semifinals of the US Open
The 19-year-old fan favorite got off to a slow start in Thursday’s semifinal game, struggling at first to even make contact with the overwhelming serves of the No. 2 seed and a fearsome cross forehand.
But by the time he broke Sabalenka to take a 4-2 lead in the third set, it was clear that 73rd-ranked Fernandez was going nowhere without a fight.
The Canadian’s energetic and defiant march through one of the most prestigious events in the game – she dispatched No. 3 Naomi Osaka from Japan, German Angelique Kerber and No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine to reach the semi-finals. storm, including fans in love at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The support of the crowd seemed to reassure her midway through the first set, when, with momentum clearly on Sabalenka’s side, Fernandez delivered three consecutive aces for a quick win and stop the bleeding.
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As they have done almost from the start, fans, some of them decked out in Canadian flags and hand-lettered “Leylah” T-shirts, cheered her like a hometown favorite, a bonus that sometimes seemed to be putting on the nerves to Sabalenka.
When Sabalenka missed an overhead volley during the first set tiebreaker, the spot exploded for Fernandez, then again during the second set when the Canadian delivered a backhand her opponent couldn’t handle.
And when Fernández took a one-game lead in the second set, an advantage that would eventually give way, a visibly frustrated Sabalenka decided to withdraw her racket by smashing it to pieces on the ground.
Canadians Fernández and Auger-Aliassime reserve their first place in the semifinals of the US Open
Fernandez will attempt to become the second Canadian to win women’s singles at Flushing Meadows after Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ontario, who captured the US Open title in 2019.
She will face either No. 17 Maria Sakkari of Greece or 18-year-old Emma Raducanu of Great Britain in the final on Saturday.
Meanwhile, No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal faces No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men’s side semifinals on Friday.
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