Leylah Fernandez comes through ‘complicated’ clash, looks to recapture Roland Garros 2019 magic
Leylah Fernandez is into the last eight of a senior Slam for just the second time ever as she downed fellow youngster Amanda Anisimova in the fourth round.
The Canadian, 19, ousted the American, 20, in a tight tussle to open play on Court Philippe-Chatrier, finishing 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in just under two hours.
With Fernandez in the opposite half to heavy favourite Iga Swiatek, the US Open finalist has a great opportunity to reach another Major final.
She said after defeating Anisimova: “Of course, today’s match was very, very complicated.
“Amanda is a very good player.”
Fernandez then admitted that the Parisian were a big help.
She thanked them directly for coming to watch and backing her during the battle.
She said: “Without you, without the public encouraging me, I don’t think I could have won today.”
Fernandez also thanked French football legend and 1998 World Cup winner Thierry Henry for watching from the stands.
A legend watching on 😄@leylahfernandez + Thierry Henry 👋#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/qgf6Rp7Y43
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 29, 2022
The Canadian has title-winning pedigree at Roland Garros, as a junior from 2019.
That year, aged 16, she won the girls’ singles event as the top seed, defeating American Emma Navarro in the final there.
This year, Fernandez faces Martina Trevisan next for a place in the semi-finals.
She would then have to get past Elise Mertens, Coco Gauff, Jil Teichmann or 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens to reach the championship match.
Returning to Roland Garros 2019, the girls’ singles that year foreshadowed this year’s main draw somewhat.
Diane Parry, the young Frenchwoman who downed defending champion Barbora Krejcikova in the opening round, was seeded second in that 2019 event.
Meanwhile, surprise Roland Garros package Zheng Qinwen was the fifth seed and reached the semi-finals.
Now, after downing Simona Halep and Alizé Cornet, the Chinese pro will face tournament favourite and world number one Iga Swiatek for a place in the quarter-finals.
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