Leylah Fernandez(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Fernandez advances to quarterfinal at French Open

Leylah Fernandez defeated American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on Sunday morning in the Round of 16 to advance to the quarterfinal of the French Open.

No. 17 Fernandez started the match impressively, breaking her opponent’s serve twice to go up 4-0 in the first set. Anisimova then found her rhythm by taking the serve from the Canadian twice, but Fernandez broke the American for a third time to maintain her lead before finally taking the first set.

After Anisimova took the second set, Fernandez came up clutch in the decisive third set, saving three break points in her first service game. The 19-year-old held each of her serves and broke Anisimova twice to take the set and match.

Fernandez, who will play in the second Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career, is set to face off against No. 59 Martina Trevisan of Italy.

On the men’s side, Félix Auger-Aliassime plays Rafael Nadal of Spain on Sunday as he looks to book his ticket to the quarterfinal.

In women’s doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos of Mexico were halted in the fourth round after a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 loss against the No.14-seeded pair of Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

Third Round

After impressive victories on Friday, Leylah Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime will both make their first appearances in the round-of-16 at the French Open. The Paris tournament began on May 22 and will continue until June 5.

Fernandez battled past the third round. She outlasted Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in a two-hour and 48-minute thriller, winning 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 on the main court at Roland Garros. 19th-seeded Fernandez broke 14th-seeded Bencic in the 11th game of the deciding set and served out the match. She had saved two set points in the opener.

It’s the first time Fernandez, the runner-up at the 2021 U.S. Open, has advanced past the third round in Paris. Next, Fernandez will face 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who reached the Roland Garros semifinals in 2019, at age 17.

Fernandez and Anisimova have played each other only once before on the WTA Tour at Indian Wells in March. Fernandez won 2-6, 7-6(0), ret. when the American abruptly retired after losing a second-set tiebreak. Anisimova eliminated four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the first round at Roland Garros.

On the men’s side, Auger-Aliassime took a more direct route in his 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7-5 victory over Filip Krajinovic. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces in the three-hour match.

The ninth-seeded Montreal native will next face No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal of Spain. Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal. Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, moved into the fourth round by beating Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Second Round

In action early Wednesday morning, Auger-Aliassime took to the court to face Argentinian Camilo Ugo Carabelli. After a first round game that went to five sets, Auger-Aliassime proved to be much more efficient and won the match in three sets of 6-0, 6-3 and 6-4. The Canadian was very dominant early in the match, snatching the first set without losing a single point.

Carabelli put up more resistance to Auger-Aliassime at the start of the second set, but the Canadian was able to convert his third break point opportunity of the set to take a 4-2 lead and eventually take the set and give him a strong chance to win the match. 

Settling into the match Auger-Aliassime ended with a win on his fourth match point. With this win he has reached the third round at Roland-Garros for the first time in his career.

His third round match is scheduled for Friday where he will face the winner of the match between Serbian Filip Krajinovic, who sits at no. 55 on the ATP rankings, and Croatia’s Borna Gojo, ranked no. 223 in the world.

Fernandez faced the Czech Kateřina Siniaková in the second round and made quick work of the match dominating her opponent with her forehand winning it in two sets of 6-3 and 6-2. The Canadian made the first break in the sixth game of the first set. The two rivals then exchanged breaks of service in the next two games. On final serve of the set, Fernandez took the opportunity to secure the win.

In the second set, Siniaková didn’t win any rallies in the first two games. Keeping her foot on the gas the Canadian once again smashed her rival to take a 3-0 lead. The Czech replied in the fourth game, but was unsuccessful as Fernandez finished the set with one ace, landing 77 per cent of her first serves, and winning 65 per cent of those points. This is the second time in the Canadian’s career that she advances to the third round of the French Open.

In the third round, Leylah Fernandez will face Belinda Bencic of Switzerland who is 14th in the WTA rankings. While there was talk of an all Canadian match up in the third round, Bencic defeated Canadian Bianca Andreescu 6-2, 6-4 in the second round to advance and knock her out of the tournament.

Doubles specialist Gabriela Dabrowski won both of her first-round matches on Thursday. In mixed doubles where she teamed up with Australian John Peers, they defeated the French duo of Harmony Tan and Jonathan Eysseric 6-0 and 6-4. Dabrowski and her women’s doubles teammate Giuliana Olmos of Mexico defeated Anna Blinkova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-3.

First round

Fernandez made quick work of her first match up against Kristina Mladenovic of France, winning in two sets of 6-0 and 7-5. The Canadian needed only 29 minutes to win the first set. Mladenovic managed to break Fernandez’s serve twice early in the second set, but the 2021 US Open runner-up responded by breaking her opponent in the fourth game and then resisting two break points as she fired behind 5-3, to finally conclude her comeback by winning four games in a row.

Fernandez will face Czech Kateřina Siniaková on Wednesday in the second round.

In the next Canadian match Auger-Aliassime had to work hard to overcome the Peruvian Juan Pablo Varillas in his first round match. The first two sets were dominated by Varillas who cruised through on his serving abilities only needing an hour and 20 minutes to grab a two-set lead.

The Canadian responded by quickly turning the match around creating his first break point of the match at 2-1 and converting to take his first lead of the day. Auger-Aliassime’s stamina played into his advantage as he won the match after five sets of 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 and 6-3 finishing with 14 aces and winning 83 percent of his first serve points.

In round two, Auger-Aliassime will meet another qualifier, Camilo Ugo Carabelli from Argentina.

Andreescu made her Paris debut on Monday against Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure. The Canadian won in three sets of 3-6, 7-5 and 6-0. After breaking serve at the start of the first set, Andreescu saw this set slip through his fingers with Bonaventure responding quickly. Trailing early in the second, Andreescu managed to tie the game at 3-3 to eventually win and force a final set. The third round she was victorious and booked her ticket to the second round.

Andreescu will face Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the second round on Wednesday.

Coming from qualifying, Rebecca Marino lost her first match of the main draw against the American Coco Gauff, 18th seed, in two sets of 7-5 and 6-0.

In action on Tuesday morning, Denis Shapovalov lost 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (4) to Denmark’s Holger Rune.