Fil-Canadian Leylah Fernandez reaches US Open final


Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis

Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the semifinal of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK–Leylah Fernandez’s storybook U.S. Open continued with yet another upset on Thursday as the Canadian teenager shocked second seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(3) 4-6 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final.

Rankings-wise, the second seeded Belarusian represented the toughest challenge yet for the 19-year-old lefhander but with a string of seeded victims behind her Fernandez had already shown she could not be intimidated.

The 73rd ranked Filipino-Canadian has stated she could beat anyone and backed up the bravado with victories over four-time Grand Slam winner and defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth and fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals.

Sabalenka, one of the game’s big servers, threw everything she had at Fernandez, including 10 aces, but had no better luck against the youngster, who played with veteran poise throughout the three-set thriller.

Fernandez now awaits the winner of the match between 18-year-old Briton Emma Raducanu and 17th seeded Greek Maria Sakkari.

If Raducanu can follow Fernandez into Saturday’s final it would mark the eighth Grand Slam final in the Open era to feature two teenagers and the first since the 1999 U.S. Open between Serena Williams and Martina Hingis.

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