There is a buzz being created in the US Open 2021 when it comes to the women’s section of the draw. This youngster has beaten three top-10 players at the age of 19. Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, and Elina Svitolina have all fallen by the wayside in front of her immense power and athleticism. The display put on by the Canadian youngster has resulted in comparisons with Serena Williams when she started out in 1999.
Leylah Fernandez from Canada has already become one of the fan favorites in the US Open. After Naomi Osaka, she is another one of the global superstars in Tennis. International globalization has molded the way how Leylah Fernandez has played her game. Her father is from Ecuador and a former soccer player. The mother is from Phillippines. But, she was born in Canada. Leylah Fernandez has emerged from this particular global family to make giant strides in Tennis.
Realizing that her Tennis dreams in Canada were too expensive, Fernandez and her family moved to Florida where she honed her skills. She made rapid strides in the world of Tennis, beginning with a final appearance in the Australian Open girl’s final in 2019. But, in the same year, the disappointment of the Australian Open was overcome as she won the French Open. After nine years, a Canadian Tennis player had won a Grand Slam event. This actually was the first step in Fernandez’s upward journey.
In the year 2020, Fernandez had her first major scalp when she defeated Belinda Bencic, who was ranked world number 5 in the Fed Cup. In the tournament in Monterrey, Fernandez defeated yet another Grand Slam champion Sloane Stephens.
But, things reached a different level in 2021. Fernandez, at the age of 18, won the Monterrey Open in March. She did it by not dropping a single set. This put her in a great frame of mind heading into the US Open.
Fernandez started the journey on a good note but it was in the third round where she made a massive impression. Naomi Osaka was the defending champion in the US Open and was looking to make a big statement. Osaka did not have the ideal build-up to the US Open, plagued with mental issues off the court.
Fernandez lost the first set and looked to be in trouble in the second set. But, it was at this point that the Canadian raised her game in crucial times. She won the tie-breaker and managed to win the third set 6-4 to advance. In the match against Angelique Kerber, the odds were stacked against her again. Kerber was the former world number one and had won three Grand Slams.
The pattern repeated, as was the case with Osaka. Kerber won the first set 6-4 and was in charge of the second set. But, Fernandez came back at crucial intervals and took the set to a tie-breaker. In the second set, the Canadian won the crucial points and won the second set. Boosted by the momentum, Fernandez won the third set 6-2 and knocked Kerber out.
The quarterfinal against Svitolina was a match of intense pressure. The Canadian won the first set 6-3 but Svitolina leveled the game by winning the second set. In the third and deciding set, Fernandez opened up a 5-2 lead. But, Svitolina did not give up. The match headed into the tie-breaker where Fernandez held her never to win the match and enter the semi-final.
The US Open women’s section has seen some new champions. In 2015, it was Flavia Pennetta who started the trend of new champions. Pennetta broke the dominance of Serena Williams, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters. Sloane Stephens joined the next list of first-time champions but the peak was reached in 2019 when Canada’s Bianca Andreescu won the US Open by beating Serena Williams.
With the trend of new champions emerging in the US Open for the women’s section, it will be no surprise that Fernandez becomes the new champion. In the current draw, there is no current Grand Slam champion after Barbora Krejcikova was knocked out.
Fernandez will next play World Number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. In the space of a week, Fernandez has beaten three top-10 players including a former world number one and a defending champion. The youngster will be determined to continue the giant-killing run and create her own shot at history.
The Canadian has become the ultimate favorite, something which Sabalenka acknowledged when she said that she knew who was winning due to the fan reaction. With the backing of the fans, Fernandez will be gunning for the US Open and once again show that the Grand Slam for Teens continues the trend.