Leylah Fernandez is the youngest semifinalist at the U.S. Open since Maria Sharapova. She’s won enough points to be the tournament’s youngest ever winner. The teenager with the excitement and enthusiasm to match raises her left fist and arms to fire up the crowd and herself.
The next thing that happens after good or bad points is equally important for the success of the Canadian left-hander who is unseeded. She will turn her back on the court and her opponent, face behind the baseline for a few seconds, then gather her thoughts and repeat whatever mantra she chose that day.
Tuesday’s victory over No. Elina Svitolina, 5th seed in Arthur Ashe Stadium, was defeated by No. Fernandez emphasized self-belief, as did 1s Naomi Osaka or Angelique Kerber.
“I was thinking about trusting myself and my game. Every point, win or loss, I would tell myself to trust my game. You should go for your shots. Fernandez, 19 years old, said, “Just see where the ball goes.” She had never made it past the third round in any of her previous major appearances. “I feel what I’m feeling. I can see if one phrase really grabs me or makes me more motivated than others. It’s something I keep in my mind throughout matches.”
Another Canadian made it to the semifinals. Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21 years old, was defeated Tuesday night by Carlos Alcaraz, 18, from Spain. Alcaraz had an injury to his right leg and stopped playing in the second set, trailing 6-3-3-1. Alcaraz had just won two sets in five, including one against No. Alcaraz was the youngest male quarterfinalist in New York, having been defeated by No.
Alcaraz stated, “It’s really difficult to end a fantastic tournament like this,” but he had no choice.
Auger-Aliassime, 12th seeded, is the first Canadian man to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Open and plays No. 2 Daniil Medvedev next. Medvedev, a Russian 25-year-old, was able to earn a spot in Flushing Meadows’ final four for the third year consecutively by stopping Botic van der Zandschulp, a Dutch qualifier, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
With no players from the United States left to pull for, U.S. Open fans are adopting their neighbors from the North — although the 73rd-ranked Fernandez actually is based in Florida after being born in Montreal to a Filipino Canadian mother and an Ecuadorian father.
Fernandez’s father, who is also her coach, isn’t currently in New York. Fernandez said he was there for “personal reasons”. He is now offering tips to Fernandez in daily phone calls.
She said, “I called him right afterwards the match, when he went to the locker area.” “He told me straightly that he had put him through hell with this match.”
It was a great show that the spectators enjoyed every second of.
After beating Svitolina to the finish, she said, “Thanks to your help, I was able push through today.”
Fernandez loves the spotlight, but it is true.
When asked if she was more nervous facing a top-ranked player in a large arena than a lower-ranked one at a smaller venue, her response was straightforward: “It doesn’t matter.”
It’s hard to argue otherwise right now.
It was a close match down the stretch, even though Fernandez won the first set and led 5-2 in third. Fernandez held a clear advantage in one way: She won 26 points, Svitolina 16.
Fernandez was only two points away from winning five times but she failed to win the next point. At 5-all in tiebreaker, Fernandez moved to match point. She smacked a down the-line passing shot, which was able to pass Svitolina using a bounce off of the net tape.
Fernandez made a gesture as if to apologize, while Svitolina pressed her lips together in dismay.
“A little bit lucky,” Fernandez said later. “But I’ll accept all the luck that I can get.”
Svitolina’s backhand was a problem late. Fernandez fell to her knees at the baseline and covered her face. Fernandez fell to her knees at baseline, covered her face and Svitolina came around the net to give her a hug.
Fernandez’s magical ride will continue with another challenge against a player who is higher in the rankings and has more experience playing on the sport’s most important stages. She will face No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka was a Wimbledon semifinalist who beat Barbora Krejcikova 6-1 and 6-4 in the evening.
While Sabalenka waited for her match at night, Sabalenka stated that she had practiced during Fernandez against Svitolina. “And we didn’t really have to watch the score, because we heard the crowd screaming.”
Krejcikova, the only remaining woman in the field, was already a Grand Slam champion.
She said that her performance against Sabalenka was affected by her “not being in a good shape” after suffering cramps and dizziness during her win over Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round. Krejcikova was forced to take a medical break late in the match. She then took her time down the stretch and Muguruza said that her behavior was “so unprofessional”.
Krejcikova answered a question about Tuesday’s match: “I was really humiliated” by the Grand Slam champion, something she had never seen.
The women’s draw saw only one man reach the quarterfinals. Novak Djokovic is aiming for a record-breaking 21st and also attempting to be the first man since Rod Laver 1969 to win a calendar year Grand Slam.
Medvedev is close. He was defeated by Djokovic in the Australian Open final this year and Rafael Nadal at the 2019 U.S. Open final.
He would only be able to meet Djokovic in Sunday’s title match. First things first.
Medvedev stated that he doesn’t think about him because, as we saw, anyone can beat anyone. “If he is in the final, and I’m there then I’m happy. I think he’s happy too.