US Open 2021: Leylah Fernandez beats Elina Svitolina, tennis news, who is Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez is suddenly the name on everyone’s lips as her mind-blowing New York madness took another dramatic turn.
Teenage phenomenon Leylah Fernandez is in her first Grand Slam semi-final after winning another huge scalp in her extraordinary giant run at the US Open.
The 19-year-old unranked beat world No.5 Elina Svitolina 6-3 3-6 7-6 in an exciting affair to secure her place in the bottom four and become the youngest female semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows since Maria Sharapova in 2005.
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Fernandez lit up the New York pitch, beating quadruple major champion Naomi Osaka in the third round before advancing to the quarter-finals thanks to a victory over three-time Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber.
Relatively unknown to casual tennis observers before this tournament, the Canadian is now the name on everyone’s lips.
Fernandez erupted at the start of the third set on Wednesday (AEST) and kept the rage going. She seemed on track to serve the game at 5-3, but nerves pissed her off and Svitolina broke for the first time in the set to keep her campaign alive.
The Ukrainian’s stomach was full of fire and she barely held the serve, gesturing for the crowd to lift up.
At 5-5, Fernandez suffered more wobbles with her own racquet, but an incredible two backhand winner put her in position to close the game. Svitolina bounced back quickly and we were heading for a tie-break.
Fernandez showed composure beyond his years to take a 4-1 lead as his opponent let out a cry of disapproval. But Svitolina’s mood quickly improved when she won three straight points to set things up at 4-4.
At 5-5 Fernandez was awarded a lucky net and when Svitolina hit over the baseline it was all over. The world number 73 knelt in disbelief as the crowd roared.
“Honestly, I have no idea how I’m feeling right now,” Fernandez said in his post-game interview.
“The whole game I was so nervous. Thanks to you guys, the crowd, the New York crowd, who cheered me on, who fought for me, who never gave up for me. Thanks to you, I was able to get through it today.
Fernandez will face Barbora Krejcikova or Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals.
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The tennis world was in awe of not only Fernandez, but the whole spectacle as the match ended with an exciting conclusion.
Journalist Carole Bouchard said it was “unreal” as she listed the big names Fernandez shot at Flushing Meadows while tennis writer Ricky Dimon tweeted: “This match was crazy.”
Journalist George Bellshaw added, “A great advertisement for tennis, that. Leylah Fernandez is another special talent (among others) rising in women’s football.
Journalist Tumaini Carayol said it was “crazy” to think about the caliber of the players Fernandez beat to get this far in the tournament.
“It’s pretty impressive to get some big wins, but every game here is tough,” he tweeted. “Konjuh is in great shape and dominated qualifying, Kanepi, a slam specialist, took a seed in R1. She beat three huge hitters and then two of the top defensive players.
Even NBA legend Magic Johnson stepped in. “If you haven’t seen the most exciting player in the US Open, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, you are really missing out! She has just beaten her opponent in 3rd row and is on fire. She captivates the world! Johnson wrote.
Fernandez made her first Grand Slam appearance at last year’s Australian Open and the same year she advanced to the round of 16 at Roland Garros, giving Petra Kvitova a run for her money. Some tennis fans might have noticed the teenage monster at the time, but it wasn’t until last week that the rest of the world joined in the fun.