US OPEN: LEYLAH FERNANDEZ BOOK FIRST GRAND SLAM SEMI-FINAL IN FLUSHING MEADOWS
LeyLah Fernandez booked her first Grand Slam semi-final Tuesday as she outclassed No.5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) a day after celebrating her 19th birthday in a match that was decided with a tie break in the third set.
The new Canadian emerging tennis sensation who knocked out four-time Grand Slam winner, the 2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka in the third round and three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round en route to the semi-final. Obviously was unfazed by the experience of the Ukranian as the aura of her birthday celebration and her brilliant performance have made her a flushing meadows darling.
The 73th ranked teen started excitingly winning the first, dominating the 26 year-old to the surprise of the raor of crowd considering her confidence level and her shot deliveries. But the Ukranian who is yet to win a Grand Slam bounced back in the second set showing flashes of her experience and maturity in the game as she led 5-1 having broken Fernandez twice to be on the advantage seat.
Svitolina levelled the match with an ace in spite of the Canadian’s strong pace and effort to recover from her lapses in the second set.
On return to the third set Fernandez started adding more aggression. Simply her style! Responding with some beautiful backhand stroke, contesting most of her opponent’s pressure which paid off going in front 4-2. The match continued with Svitolina realising the need for urgency tuned up her effort despite being down 5-3, and addition to her fighting spirit saw her level terms with the Canadian.
Now with the contest stretched into a tie break decider, Fernandez pulled it quickly to her advantage and Svitolina could not handle the pressure as she succumbed to the superior power of the teenager. The crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium obviously, was delighted with her performance having received roar for more which she did not disappoint. She was applauded for the victory.