National Post (Latest Edition)
Fernandez advances, Shapovalov bounced
PARIS • Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time as she beat experienced Polona Hercog 6-4, 3- 6, 6-1 at the French Open on Thursday.
Fernandez, 18, the youngest woman left in the draw after an earlier loss by Denmark’s Clara Tauson, was pegged back after winning a tight opener, but raced through the decider.
Giving nothing away, the Montreal native’s accuracy was too much for Hercog, who took out her frustration on her racket midway through the deciding set and received a warning.
Fernandez is playing in only her third main draw at a Grand Slam. She lost in the first round at the Australian Open after coming through qualifying, and made the second round at the U. S. Open. Thursday’s win takes her one step further.
Fellow Canuck Denis Shapovalov had a much tougher day, as the No. 9 seed twice served for the match against Roberto Carballes Baena before losing 7- 5, 6-7 ( 5), 6- 3, 3- 6, 8- 6 against the 101st- ranked Spaniard during an absorbing five-hour contest.
Shapovalov served at 5- 4 and 6- 5 in the deciding set but Carballes Baena levelled the match each time and then broke the Canadian’s next service game again to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
“It is a dream for me to win a match like this in this court and I think I tried to be very solid and focused on my game,” the 27-year-old said in his on-court interview.
“Shapovalov serves very well, he’s very aggressive but I think I played a very good match.”
The 21-year-old Shapovalov, considered one of the most talented young players on the men’s circuit, left the court for a medical timeout before the eighth game of the second set for what appeared to be a groin issue.
He returned to take the second set, which saw the duo trade double breaks of serve, in a tiebreak but the injury seemed to continue to bother him in the third as his level dropped.
Shapovalov hit 65 winners but was undone by an enormous 106 unforced errors. The Spaniard managed 31 winners but kept the errors to 42.
Meanwhile, top seed Novak Djokovic barely broke a sweat in reaching the third round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 thrashing of outclassed Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis.
Djokovic, bidding for his second French Open crown and 18th Grand Slam title, has dropped 10 games in two rounds so far and occasionally looked bored on Thursday, taking the opportunity to practise his drop shot on numerous occasions.
He finished it off after only 83 minutes with his 10th ace.
It was Djokovic’s 70th victory at the French Open, moving him into a tie for second place on the all- time list with Roger Federer.