Tennis

Leylah Fernandez, 19, defeats No 2 seed Aryna Sabelenka to reach final

Teenage fever! 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez defeats No 2 seed Aryna Sabelenka to become the youngest US Open female finalist this CENTURY

  • Saturday’s US Open final will have a teenager after Leylah Fernandez won
  • The 19-year-old Canadian defeated the No 2 seed of Aryna Sabalenka
  • Fernandez had the crowd on her side as she put in a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 victory 

While fans rose from their slumber across the United Kingdom to watch Emma Raducanu, it was another teen who was busy stealing the show on the Arthur Ashe court.  

Nineteen-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez produced a truly stunning display to add No 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka to her list of scalps over the past two weeks. 

Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina all fell to the young Canadian and despite some big hitting early on, Sabalenka had no answers as Fernandez roared into Saturday’s final.  

Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez roared to victory to reach Saturday’s US Open final

No 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka started strongly but soon found she was losing momentum

Sabalenka started far stronger as she bullied Fernandez around the court with her thunderous forehands.

But having raced out to a 4-1 lead momentum suddenly shifted and Fernandez never looked back.  

The Canadian’s poise, it seems, is as limitless has her potential. And no foe, no matter how accomplished or highly ranked, poses an insurmountable problem. 

Speedy afoot and steady at crunch time, the unseeded Fernandez edged Sabalenka 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 on Thursday night in Arthur Ashe Stadium, earning right to play for a Grand Slam title this weekend.

 Fernandez was given a harsh lesson early on but she soon adapted and took control to win

 Sabalenka showed warrior-like spirit as she won the second set to force a deciding set

It was the 73rd-ranked Fernandez’s fourth consecutive three-set victory over a seeded opponent. 

First came No 3 Osaka, the 2018 and 2020 US Open champion. Then came No 16 Kerber, the 2016 champ. That was followed by No 5 Elina Svitolina and now Sabalenka.

In Saturday’s final, the left-handed Fernandez will face either another unseeded teen, 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu, or 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece. 

Neither of them has participated in a Grand Slam title match, either.

In the end, it was Sabalenka, a Wimbledon semi-finalist in July, who let things get away from her. 

Fernandez held her nerve to take the win and she collapsed onto the court at the end 

It is a remarkable story as she is the second Canadian in three years to get to a US Open final

In the last game, she double-faulted twice in a row to set up match point, then sailed a forehand long. 

Asked how she managed to make it this far, a gobsmacked Fernandez said: ‘I have no idea!’

She added: ‘That’s years and years and years of hard work and tears and blood and everything, on court, off court, sacrifices. 

‘I just wanted to be in the finals, I really wanted it, & I fought for every point.’ 


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