The world of tennis, you have been warned. A new superstar has arrived after taking down fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina on the her way to the semi-finals of the US Open.
Canadian 19-year-old left-hander Leylah Fernandez advanced to the US Open semi-finals on Tuesday by defeating Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5).
Fernandez, ranked 73rd, will play her first Grand Slam semi-final against the winner of a later match between second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Czech eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning French Open champion.
World number 73 Fernandez, who had already ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka and three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber, defeated Ukraine’s fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5).
“I honestly have no idea what I’m feeling right now,” Fernandez said moments after the victory. “I told myself to trust my shots. Even if I lose, I’ve got to go for it. And I’m glad I did.” Fernandez was inspired by pre-match strategy from her father/coach Jorge, a former Ecuadoran football player.
“My dad told me so many things, but today he told me to go out and have fun, fight for every point,” she said.
“It’s your first Grand Slam quarter-final. Don’t make it your last. Don’t make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.”
Left-hander Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, snapped the Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist’s nine-match win streak with clutch shotmaking as spectators roared their delight.
“Throughout the whole match, I was so nervous. I was trying to do what my coach told me to do,” Fernandez told the crowd. “Thanks to you, I was able to push through.” She had 42 winners, 10 more than Svitolina, to 31 unforced errors. Fernandez broke Svitolina for a 4-2 lead in the first set with a backhand winner and held twice to capture the set in 38 minutes, the first set Svitolina surrendered at the Open.
In the second set, Svitolina broke twice to lead 5-1 but Fernandez broke in the seventh game and forced three break points in the last game before a Svitolina ace mandated a third set.
Fernandez and Svitolina exchanged four breaks on the way to the tie-breaker, in which the teenager never trailed and advanced after two hours and 24 minutes with a service winner.
Fernandez booked a semi-final matchup with either second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus or Czech eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova, each seeking a WTA-best 43rd match win of the year.
MEDVEDEV ENDS DUTCHMAN’S FAIRYTALE RUN
Russian second seed Daniil Medvedev advanced to his third straight US Open semi-final on Tuesday, moving one more victory from a possible championship match against Grand Slam-seeking Novak Djokovic.
Medvedev, chasing his first Grand Slam title, eliminated 117th-ranked Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Semis again,” Medvedev said. “I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get this extra step, which is the toughest one, actually.” The 25-year-old from Moscow was a runner-up at the 2019 US Open and at this year’s Australian Open, where he lost to top-ranked Djokovic, who is trying to complete the first men’s singles Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 by winning his fourth US Open.
Medvedev is assured of playing a first-time Slam semi-finalist for a berth in the final, next facing the winner between 55th-ranked Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz and 21-year-old Canadian 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“Playing against Felix or Carlos I think is already great for tennis,” Medvedev said. “It’s amazing.” Alcaraz, who ousted third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in the third round, could become the youngest US Open men’s semi-finalist since 1960 and the youngest in any Slam since 17-year-old Michael Chang won the 1989 French Open.
He’d also be the first man to reach the US Open semi-finals in his debut since Eric Sturgess in 1948.
Medvedev won his only meeting with Auger-Aliassime in Canada in 2018 and his only match against Alcaraz in the second round this year at Wimbledon.
Van de Zandschulp hoped to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semi-finals and only the sixth to do so at any Grand Slam event.
But he sent a forehand long to hand Medvedev his third service break and close the first set. Then the Russian blanked the Dutchman in the second set.
Van de Zandschulp broke to 4-2 in the third set on a forehand winner and held twice more to capture the set, Medvedev sending a backhand long to drop his first set of the tournament.
“First two sets he was missing. I was controling the game,” Medvedev said. “Third set he started missing less.” Medvedev took the only break of the final set on match point when the Dutchman netted a forehand drop volley to end matters after two hours and 23 minutes.
“It’s an amazing run to make it from qualies to quarters,” Medvedev said of his rival. “He played so many tough matches and was still able to come back and play top level in the third and fourth sets.”
Originally published as US Open tennis 2021: Latest results, news from men’s, women’s draws