• March 26, 2023

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Fernandez falls in straight sets to Haddad Maia

2JN4A7R Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts to a point against Storm Sanders of Australia during women?Aos tennis action at the National Bank Open in Toronto, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez was eliminated from the National Bank Open women’s single tournament following a 7-6 (4), 6-1 defeat to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia on Wednesday.

Fernandez, the 13th seed in Toronto, was playing in her first tournament following a two-month layoff to recover from a stress fracture in her right foot that she sustained at the French Open.

She and her sister Bianca Fernandez then teamed up in the doubles tournament, losing to Andreja Klepa─ì of Slovenia and Alexa Guarachi of Chile 6-1, 6-2.

“It’s a little hard today because we just finished with two losses,” said Leylah Fernandez. “I’m just happy that I finally was back in competition and that we not only tested out the foot but also the body. The body feels great.

“Of course, not at the level that we want it to be, but at least we know what we need to work.”

While Fernandez showed plenty of fight in the first set of her singles match, she eventually seemed to wear against the powerful attack of her increasingly confident adversary.

After an encouraging start, Fernandez gave up the first break of the match to go down 3-2 in the opening set.

Leading 5-4, Haddad Maia converted her fourth ace of the match to give her set point. But Fernandez saved to bring the score to deuce, then converted her first break point to tie the set.

Haddad Maia restored her lead in the next game, finally converting on her fourth break point chance of the game to go up 6-5.

But again, the Brazilian couldn’t put the set away. A double-fault from Haddad Maia set up double break point for Fernandez, and the Canadian came out on top after a long rally to win the next point and force a tiebreak.

Haddad Maia proved too much for Fernandez in the extra session, using powerful strokes to keep the Canadian off-balance and taking a 6-3 tiebreak lead.

Fernandez saved another set point before Haddad Maia clinched it with a strong backhand to end a short rally.

Haddad Maia built on that momentum in the second set, converting an early break en route to a 3-0 lead.

Her second break of the set put Haddad Maia up 5-1, then she served to love in the final game to take the match.

In women’s doubles, Fernandez and younger sister Bianca Jolie were eliminated later on Wednesday by eighth-seeded duo Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Andreja Klepač of Slovenia 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.

Steve Carr

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