US Open: teen Leylah Fernandez stuns Angelique Kerber to reach quarter-finals

18-year-old Leylah Fernandez received huge crowd support at Louis Armstrong Stadium
Place: Flushing Meadows, New York Dated: August 30-September 12
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Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her remarkable run at the US Open by beating 2016 champion Angelique Kerber to advance to the quarter-finals.

On the eve of her 19th birthday, Fernandez confirmed her victory over Naomi Osaka with a 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory over Germany’s Kerber.

She hit back at a 4-2 deficit in the second set to force a tie-break and barely released from that point on.

Fernandez to face fifth seed Elina Svitolina for a place in the semi-finals.

Fernandez doubled as her victory was confirmed, before she received a standing ovation from a large crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

“I was just happy to have fun on the pitch,” said Fernandez.

“I have been working hard since the day I started playing tennis and the day I decided to turn pro.

“I expected that one day my tennis match would end and be on the big stage in front of a big crowd and take the victories.”

The children are doing well

Fernandez is one of three teenagers to break through at the US Open, recording victories over four-time Slam champion Osaka and three-time winner Kerber.

Britain’s Emma Raducanu, 18, and Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz also advanced to the fourth round, with Alcaraz knocking out third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the week.

Born in Montreal, Fernandez was taken out of the provincial development program at a young age, with the family moving to Florida to build her and her sister’s career.

Her father Jorge, a former footballer turned professional at 13, learned tennis to coach his daughter.

It paid off, with Fernandez winning the 2019 Roland Garros women’s title and entering the top 100 the following year.

Despite being the youngest player in the main draw, she won her first WTA title in Monterrey, Mexico, in March, and hasn’t lost a set throughout the week.

She showed her fearlessness against Kerber, hitting 45 winners and showing complete composure to make her way through the bottom eight.

Fernandez strikes back

Leyla fernandez
Fernandez won his first WTA title earlier this year

Fernandez did well to put her disappointment from the first set behind her, where she let an early break slip away.

She served for a 5-2 lead but was beaten by an increasingly belligerent Kerber, with the Canadian winning just two more points in the remainder of the set.

Former world number one Kerber put her forehand to good use in the second set, but she also dropped a break with Fernandez hitting a scorching winner in the air to force him to 4-4.

Kerber was forced to save a set point before forcing a tie-break, but Fernandez ran to a 5-1 leave, with Kerber giving her backing box a sarcastic nudge at the change of sides.

After Kerber sent a long volley to hand the set, Fernandez motioned for the crowd to make more noise, most of them jumping from their seats to give him a standing ovation.

Known as one of the best defenders in women’s football, Kerber’s energy began to wane under the relentless pressure from Fernandez.

Fernandez will now face Svitolina, who is on a nine-game unbeaten streak following her 6-3 6-3 win over Simona Halep.

Svitolina is the second-highest ranked player in the competition after the outings of world number one Ashleigh Barty and third seed Osaka.

Second seed Aryna sabalenka overcame 10 double faults to beat former doubles partner Elise Mertens 6-4 6-1.

Belarusian will play Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova after the Czech beat former Spanish world number one Garbine Muguruza 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in the night session over Arthur Ashe.

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