Leylah Annie Fernandez is a famous Tennis Player, Teen Leylah Fernández put on another fearless performance to beat Elina Svitolina and set up a US Open semifinal with Aryna Sabalenka.
Canadian Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, showed all of her devastating power to win a tense tie-break 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in New York.
Svitolina, 26, had come back from a 5-2 deficit in the third, but she couldn’t stop Fernandez’s exciting and powerful play.
Second-seeded Sabalenka dominated French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova 6-1 6-4.
Fernandez has beaten defending champion Naomi Osaka, 2016 winner Angelique Kerber and now Olympic bronze medalist Svitolina in her race to her first major semifinal.
She has displayed remarkable composure in New York, backing up her easy power with calm and composure on the court.
When Svitolina sent a long serve return at match point, Fernandez fell to his knees and cried as fans gave him a long-standing ovation over Arthur Ashe.
“Honestly, I have no idea what I’m feeling right now. I was very nervous throughout the game,” she said.
“I was honored to have a fight with Svitolina. I told myself that she should go for all the points. I am happy to have done it “.
Fernández is the youngest woman to reach the semifinals of the US Open since Maria Sharapova in 2005 arrived a day after her 19th birthday.
The teens have made a breakthrough at this year’s US Open, with 18-year-old Emma Raducanu and Carlos Alvarez also reaching the fourth round alongside Fernandez.
Fernández has shown them that going further, regardless of the opponent, is possible. She has done so relying on her game and her heavy-hitting weapons, finishing with 42 winners against Svitolina.
Her father, who trains her, is a former professional soccer player. When she was a child, Fernandez says she believed she could beat him at backyard football games, and it’s that self-confidence that has underpinned her performances in New York.
She credited her dad, who is at home with her younger sister, for providing tactical support. Her lively support team is led by her fitness trainer Duglas Cordero, who constantly asks them to make more noise.
“My dad told me so many things but he told me today to have fun,” she said.
“He said fighting for every point and not making the quarterfinals my last game and fighting for my dream.”
Fernandez started strong against Svitolina, breaking for a 4-2 lead and crushing the winners past her increasingly passive opponent.
An Olympic bronze medalist in Tokyo, Svitolina was slow to adjust her game, but she better-mixed defense with offense in the third to finally break Fernandez’s serve.
But Fernandez just kept hitting and winning the long rallies, breaking when Svitolina served for the set at 5-1 and creating four break points in the Ukrainian’s next service game.
The scream Svitolina let out when an ace finished the second set showed how frustrated she was, but she made the first dent in the third set.
Once again, Fernandez got out of trouble, choosing her shots carefully and beating Svitolina at the net. Three service breaks led the Canadian to serve for the match, but she seemed nervous for the first time, allowing Svitolina a chance.
The tie-break, however, felt like one-way traffic. Fernandez ran to a 4-1 lead and the points that went against her were large of her own making, rather than one last push from Svitolina.
The Ukrainian fought hard but couldn’t stop Fernandez’s momentum, with the two sharing a hug and a brief word before Svitolina left the pitch.
Svitolina is often seen as the pending Grand Slam champion, but she has only reached two major semi-finals at the French Open and Flushing Meadows in 2019.
Fernández will now face Sabalenka, who is the remaining seed in the women’s team and has dominated her team.
The Belarusian has had a consistently strong performance on the WTA Tour, but she had struggled in the Grand Slams, before finally making her breakthrough at Wimbledon last month, where she made the last four.
Her match against Krejcikova, who clinched her first Grand Slam singles title at Roland Garros earlier this year, promised a lot, but the Czech was hampered by injury or fatigue.
Sabalenka barely had to get out of first gear in the first set, countering five double faults with 12 winners to sweep Krejcikova away.
Although Krej Cikova recovered towards the end of the second, Sabalenka was able to get out of service problems, saving five of the six break points she faced to close the match in one hour and 28 minutes.