Canada’s Fernandez extends U.S. Open charge with comeback victory over Kerber


Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez’s stellar run at the U.S Open continues.

The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s draw with a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over 16th-seeded German Angelique Kerber. Fernandez took control of the match in the decisive third set by twice breaking Kerber, a former world No. 1, for a commanding 5-2 advantage.

The Canadian, who recorded five service breaks in nine chances, then held serve to clinch the victory.

Later on Sunday night, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faces American Frances Tiafoe in a men’s fourth-round match.

WATCH l Leylah Annie Fernandez flies into U.S. Open quarter-finals:

Leylah Annie Fernandez flies into U.S. Open quarter-finals

On the day before her 19th birthday, Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 to advance to the U.S. Open quarter-finals. 5:56

Fernandez reached the fourth round with a stunning upset win over No. 3 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka. She rallied to beat Osaka 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Friday to advance past the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

What’s more the 23-year-old Osaka came in riding a 16-match Grand Slam win streak.

Kerber took a roller-coaster first set that saw both players struggle to hold serve. The German recorded three service breaks in the set while Fernandez registered two while also committing four double faults (to none for Kerber).

Kerber recorded her fourth service break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 advantage. But Fernandez countered with a break of her own to tie the set 4-4 before holding serve to go up 5-4.

Fernandez had a chance for another break leading 6-5, but Kerber rallied to hold serve and force the tie-breaker. Fernandez still pushed the match to a deciding set after winning the tie-breaker 7-5.

Fernandez took a 3-2 lead in the third with her fourth service break of the match. Then after holding her serve for a 4-2 advantage, Fernandez recorded another break to go ahead 5-2.

Fernandez finished the match with three aces (Kerber had none) but also six double faults.

‘Happy-go-lucky girl’

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez returns against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their round of 16 match at the U.S. Open on Sunday in New York. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Ask self-described “happy-go-lucky girl” Fernandez for the secret to her success, and she repeatedly mentions two factors. One is being sure to enjoy her time on court. The other is support of family, because her father, who is from Ecuador, her mother, who is Filipino Canadian, and her sisters “have definitely kept the joy for me.”

A day before of her 19th birthday, she credits Dad — who coaches her and has been offering instructions in daily phone calls while back home, taking care of a younger sibling — and Mom — who is leading the cheers with other family members and Fernandez’s fitness trainer in courtside seats — with teaching a valuable lesson that has nothing to do with tennis.

They made sure to emphasize, Fernandez said, that “you can’t take things too seriously, you’ve got to be mature but at the same time just be a kid, let loose, have fun, eat chocolate when you want to, and just have fun, watch movies, go past your bedtime.”

In women’s doubles action, Ottawa Gabriela Dabrowski and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani outlasted American Shelby Rogers and Croatia’s Petra Martic 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3).

WATCH | Leylah Fernandez stuns 3rd-seeded Osaka in 3rd round:

Fernandez advances to U.S. Open 4th round with upset win over Osaka

18-year-old Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., defeats third seed Naomi Osaka 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the third round of the U.S. Open 3:31

Medvedev tops Evans in straight sets

No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev cruised into the U.S. Open quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win over No. 24 Daniel Evans.

Medvedev has yet to drop a set on his way to the quarter-finals for the third straight year. He next plays gualifier Botic van de Zandschulp, the third unseeded player he’ll face at Flushing Meadows.

Van de Zandschulp pulled off a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 win over No. 11 Diego Schwartzman. He joined Nicolas Escude and Gilles Muller as just the third men’s qualifier ever to reach the quarter-finals.

Sabalenka, Svitolina reach quarter-finals

No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina beat two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Svitolina has never won a Grand Slam tournament. She had lost twice before to the 12th-seeded Halep in majors.

The reigning Olympic bronze medallist, Svitolina has emerged as a contender at Flushing Meadows in New York, having not dropped a set in the tournament.

Third-seeded Naomi Osaka and No. 1 Ash Barty, who was upset Saturday night by Shelby Rogers, are both out of the women’s draw.

Later on Sunday, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus defeated Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-4, 6-1 to also reach the quarter-finals.

Qualifer van de Zandschulp to quarters

U.S. Open qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp has reached the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 win over No. 11 Diego Schwartzman at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Van de Zandschulp won in four hours 20 minutes and joined Nicolas Escude (1999) and Gilles Muller (2008) as just the third men’s qualifier to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows. He had lost the first set in his first three matches.

Van de Zandschulp was part of a trio of U.S. Open qualifiers to reach the fourth round for the first time since the tournament began keeping qualifying records in 1982. It was also the first time at any Grand Slam tournament that three male qualifiers reached Week 2 since the 1995 French Open.

The 25-year-old Dutch qualifier knocked out No. 8 seed Casper Ruud in the second round.

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