“Best Show”: Leylah Fernandez Sends Tennis Fans into a Frenzy of Cheers at Indian Wells

Published 10/11/2021, 2:24 AM EDT
Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


At the WTA 1000 Indian Wells 2021 Round of 32, 2021 season’s two Grand Slam finalists faced each other. Indeed, it was an intriguing battle between 19-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez and 30-year-old Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. But ultimately, the teenage sensation prevailed over the experienced head, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

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Earlier, the young aspirant Fernandez defeated many notable players to reach the US Open final, including defending champion Naomi Osaka. Thus, she had set lofty standards to live up to in the desert.

Sep 11, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Emma Raducanu of Great Britain (L) hugs Leylah Fernandez of Canada (R) after their match in the women’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

On the other side, the veteran Pavlyuchenkova reached her first Grand Slam final after 50 odd appearances. However, she lost to Czech Republic’s Barbora Krejcikova in the French Open final. Thus, Fernandez stealing the win from the hands of Pavlyuchenko got stunning responses on Twitter.

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Firstly, the 111 WTA doubles titles winner Pam Shriver said, RN [Right now] Leylah Fernandez best show in tennis IMO [In my opinion].”

Afterward, Toronto Sun’s Sports columnist Steve Simmons said, Last night boxing kept me up late Tonight it’s Leylah Fernandez. I could really use a quiet night”

Another doubles legend Rennae Stubbs tweeted, “Leylah Fernandez is so fun to watch! such great energy, u can’t teach it.”

Tennis fans explode on Twitter as Leylah Fernandez pulls off another sensational win

Unquestionably, the third-round win over ninth seed Pavlyuchenkova was one of the Canadian’s top wins in 2021. Thoroughly impressed by it, tennis fans expressed their emotions on Twitter.

Leylah Fernandez vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Set 1: Indian Wells 2021

From the start of this encounter, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova put pressure on the young shoulders of Leylah Fernandez. However, the fearless Canadian kept coming back just like she did in New York.

Oct 10, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Leylah Fernandez (CAN) hits a shot in her third round match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) during the BNP Paribas Open. at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Notably, the opening set saw five service breaks, including an out-of-the-world set point saved by Fernandez. But, the clean and composed game of the Russian did not crack under pressure.

Ultimately, from 5-5, Pavlyuchenkova went to win the next two games and closed the first set 7-5. Nevertheless, Fernandez has had a rich history of coming back after dropping the opening set.

Fernandez and Pavlyuchenkova go the distance in Indian Wells

Unsurprisingly, the couple settled down in the second set and engaged in longer rallies than before. More importantly, while Pavlyuchenkova was looking to finish in straight sets, Fernandez had to give her all in order to save the match.

Oct 10, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) hits a shot in her third round match against Leylah Fernandez (CAN) during the BNP Paribas Open. at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Consequently, both players remained toe-to-toe with one another for most of the second set. At 2-2, Leylah saved four break points to remain level against the veteran Russian. Later on, at 4-3, Pavlyuchenko lost her service, giving the Canadian teenager a chance to serve for the set.

Although the 30-year-old saved a set point, she couldn’t hold on for the second time. Hence, the match got leveled at 7-5, 3-6.

Fernandez vs. Pavlyuchenko: The decider set

As the final set began, both played tried cautiously yet aggressively to register the first punch. Leaving the score aside, it was pure joy to watch Fernandez and Pavlyuchenko play passionately in the tennis paradise.

Also, the two knew that whoever got the first break will have a massive advantage. So, they focused more on holding their service game than breaking their opponent’s.

Incredibly, the teenager marked the first blow, breaking Pavlyuchenko for a 3-2 lead. Now, all Fernandez had to do was guard her remaining service games.

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At 4-3, the Canadian teenager put forward her steely nerves, saving two crucial break points in the match. At last, after almost three hours of strenuous battle, Fernandez closed the match at 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

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In the next round, the 19-year-old will face American Shelby Rogers to reach Indian Wells 2021 quarterfinals. Do you think she will go all the way in the desert?

Watch this story: A Look Back at Emma Raducanu’s 2021 Spotlight Moments After US Open Glory

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Purav Joshi

1230 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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