PRODIGY! Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Now Elina Svitolina, 18 Year-Old Qualifier Leylah Fernandez Continues Her Dream at US Open2021

Published 09/07/2021, 5:29 PM EDT
Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates a winner against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


After stunning defending champion Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber at the on-going US Open, young Canadian sensation Leylah Fernandez faced Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals. The duo met each other in the quarter-finals of the Monterrey Open last year. Svitolina won that contest in straight sets.

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Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada hits to Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Both Fernandez and Svitolina faced tough opponents en-route their quarter-final matchups respectively. While the Ukrainian defeated the likes of Daria Kasatkina and Simona Halep, Fernandez overpowered champions like Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.

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Even though Svitolina’s experience at grand slams might make her the favorite, the Canadian looks unstoppable at the tournament. Let’s see how the match progressed.

Leylah Fernandez stunned Svitolina to clinch the first set

Right from the start, Fernandez looked aggressive from the baseline and hit winners whenever she found a chance. While Svitolina used her defensive skills to good effect for the first few games, she couldn’t cope up with the fire power from the other end.

Eventually, the Ukrainian got broken in her serve by Fernandez as she took complete control of the first set from there onwards. Also, the Canadian exploited Svitolina’s weak second serve and hit a lot of backhand return winners.

Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Elina
Svitolina of Ukraine hits to Leylah Fernandez of Canada on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Capitalizing on the single break point she won, Fernandez went on to claim the first set, 6-3.

Elina Svitolina made a quick comeback to level the match

Coming to the second set, the Canadian‘s level dropped a bit as errors began to crawl out from her racquet. A couple of loose service games from Fernandez put Svitolina in the forefront as she lead the set 5-1.

However, the youngster played an incredible return game and broke back. As soon as Fernandez’s momentum dropped, Svitolina used her defensive baseline skills to close the set, 6-3. The set progressed quickly as the Ukrainian didn’t give time for Fernandez to settle in.

Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada serves to Elina
Svitolina of Ukraine on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After two intensely competitive two sets, the third set is expected to be a roller-coaster ride. Maintaining the expectations right, there were a couple of break points exchanged right at the start. First, it was the Canadian who got the first break of the set.

Fernandez won a tightly contested third set against Svitolina to reach the US Open semis

Despite retaining her game back in the third set, Fernandez couldn’t hold her serve after breaking Svitolina. Occasionally, the youngster kept involving the crowd to rally behind her. Just when the scores were level, a poor service game from the Ukrainian landed yet another service game for Fernandez.

Serving at 4-2 in the final set, the youngster didn’t flinch and held her nerves despite Svitolina’s incredible baseline defense. The Canadian was just a game away from reaching a maiden US Open semi-final.

Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Elina Svitolina of Ukraine hits to Leylah Fernandez of Canada on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Svitolina held serve once again at 5-2 and put Fernandez under pressure of having to close the match. The Ukrainian was expected to play a perfect return game and combined with a little bit of help from Fernandez, she could bring the match back on serve.

Accordingly, Svitolina didn’t make it easy for the Canadian and broke back. Since then, the Ukrainian managed to gain the upper hand won two consecutive games to take the set to a tie-breaker.

Even in the tie-breaker, it was Fernandez who raced to a quick lead of 4-1 before Svitolina began her ascend. After leveling the breaker at 5-5, luck favored the Canadian as a forehand passing shot she hit the net cord and went past Svitolina.

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At 6-5, Fernandez closed out the match on her serve and reached the semi-finals of the US Open. It was an incredible matchup and the youngster didn’t succumb to the pressure from the other end of the court till the end.

Leylah Fernandez will await the winner of the quarter-final contest between Barbora Krejcikova and Aryna Sabalenka.

 

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Sagar Ashtakoula

412 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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