Luisa Morales – Philstar.com
September 8, 2021 | 5:31am
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada returns against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine during her Women’s Singles quarterfinals match on Day Nine of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 07, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
AL BELLO / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP
MANILA, Philippines — The Cinderella run continues for Fil-Canadian Leylah Fernandez at the 2021 US Open.
Fernandez outbattled World No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5), at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Tuesday (early Wednesday morning, Manila time).
After back-to-back upsets over former US Open champs Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, Fernandez proved her calibre against the best in the world to qualify for her first Grand Slam semifinal.
Fernandez needed to fend off a fierce comeback from Svitolina in the winner-take-all third set after squandering a 5-2 lead.
Svitolina came storming back to knot the set, 5-all. It came down to a tiebreak after they traded game wins, 6-6.
Fernandez zoomed to a 4-1 lead in the tiebreak but again had to fight off Svitolina who pushed the teen to the limit at 5-5.
Feeding off of the energy from the crowd, Fernandez was able to weather Svitolina’s heavy serves.
She even jumped to the early advantage in the match with a 6-3 first set win.
But Svitolina didn’t make it a walk in the park for the 19-year-old when she brandished her dominance when she quickly mounted a 5-1 lead in the second set, taking away all the momentum of the Fil-Canadian teen after the opening set win.
Fernandez would take some of it back with two game wins in a row while almost forcing another, but eventually succumbing to her opponent.
The Ukranian ended the set with an ace to force the winner-take-all third set.
Fernandez looked unfazed by Svitolina’s resurgence in the decider, though, as she took an early advantage, 3-1.
She would push the Ukranian against the wall when she held her serve in the seventh game to come one game win away from the semifinals, 5-2.
Then Svitolina would mount her comeback before Fernandez ultimately emerged victorious in the tiebreak.
Fernandez faces the winner of the quarterfinal between Barbora Krejcikova and Aryna Sabalenka Tuesday evening (Wednesday morning, Manila time) in the semifinal.