Montreal Gazette

Canadian duo reaching new heights at U.S. Open


Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez ousted a former U.S. Open champion for the second straight match to land a spot in the quarter-finals as she rallied for a stunning 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Germany's Angelique Kerber on Sunday.

Fernandez smacked 45 winners against 34 unforced errors while dispatchin­g the 16th-seeded Kerber in two hours, 15 minutes. The latest win comes two days after she upset third-seeded Naomi Osaka, a two-time U.S. Open champion.

“I did have to pinch myself a little bit to see that it actually happened,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, will face No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the quarter-finals. Svitolina notched a solid 6-3, 6-3 victory over 12th-seeded Simona Halep of Romania.

Kerber, the 2016 U.S. Open champ, won the first set and led 4-2 in the second when Fernandez suddenly came alive. She won the next three games and eventually won the tiebreaker to force a third set.

The 33-year-old Kerber held a 2-1 lead in the third set before Fernandez won five straight games to complete another huge win.

“I gave everything I had today,” Kerber said. “She played, I think, an unbelievab­le match, especially in the third set, also in the second.

“I think she played also one of her best matches in her career, and she had nothing to lose. She went out there, she played her tennis.”

The left-handed Fernandez, who pumped her arm after nearly every winning point, said she's trying to simplify things so that the big stage doesn't feel any different than a normal tournament.

But she definitely knows it's different, as she became just the fourth Canadian woman to reach the U.S. Open quarter-finals. Bianca Andreescu (2019) is the only woman from Canada to win the title.

The task of advancing sure doesn't get easier with Svitolina waiting.

“That's going to be a very tough match,” the 73rd-ranked Fernandez said. “She's a great player. She's a fighter. She returns a lot of balls. She's offensive and aggressive so I'm just going to go on court and have fun like I've been doing the past few days.”

Félix Auger-aliassime broke through Frances Tiafoe's defences to win 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(6), 6-4 at the U.S. Open on Sunday in a fourthroun­d battle between two of the sport's brightest young talents.

Both players came into the match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on the back of tough five-setters and it was 23-year-old Tiafoe who started the brighter, going up a break after the first game and shutting down all eight of the Canadian's break point opportunit­ies to go up 1-0.

Auger-aliassime, 21, came roaring back in the second set, however, winning all but one of his firstserve points and making just four unforced errors to level the match.

The Canadian is the youngest man to reach consecutiv­e major quarter-finals since Juan Martin del Potro made it to three straight in 2008-09.

Next up for Auger-aliassime is 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, the youngest male player to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows in the Open era.

 ??  ?? Félix Auger-aliassime
Félix Auger-aliassime
 ??  ?? Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez

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