• September 20, 2021

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 victory 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.

Fernandez reached the fourth round with a stunning upset win over No. 3 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka. She rallied to defeat 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 an opportunity 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.

Steve Carr

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