• August 9, 2022

Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez upsets No. 31 seed in main-draw debut at French Open

Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 triumph over No. 31 seed Magda Linette of Poland in her main-draw debut at the French Open on Monday.

The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., gained the girls’ tournament at the clay-court Grand Slam last year before rising to the women’s ranks.

“I’m actually pretty pleased with myself with the win today,” stated Fernandez.

“I’ve been having some success in the past few years here in Paris and I was just trying to use that energy and that positive vibe that I feel over here and push through in the second and the third set.”

It marks the second consecutive Grand Slam in which Fernandez has won her opening-round match. The world No. 100 lost to top American Sofia Kenin in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Canadian teenager says she stayed confident despite dropping the first set so easily.

“I’ve always believed that I can win the match. Even though I was losing 1-4, 1-5 in the first set, I always thought like I can come back and win the first set,” said Fernandez. “But Magda, she played a great first set, a great match, and I guess when I came back in the second set right from the start I knew I can still turn it around and with that mindset that I had it helped a lot.”

Fernandez will face world No. 47 Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the second round of the French Open.

Both of Canada’s entrants in the women’s singles draw have reached the second round. Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who received a wild-card into the event, beat Anna Kalinskaya of Russia on Sunday and will face Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the second round.

Meanwhile, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Toronto’s Steven Diez both are out of the men’s competition after suffering first-round losses on Monday.

Steve Carr

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