US Open: Giant-slaying Fernandez pinching herself after ousting two slam champs en route to QFs

By Sports Desk September 05, 2021

Canadian sensation Leylah Fernandez said she is pinching herself after continuing her fairytale run with a shock last-16 win over Angelique Kerber at the US Open.

After stunning defending champion Naomi Osaka in a third-round boilover at Flushing Meadows, giant-slaying teenager Fernandez conquered three-time grand slam winner Kerber 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 en route to the quarter-finals.

Kerber – the 2018 US Open champion – won the opening set in New York, however 18-year-old Fernandez staged a remarkable comeback on the eve of her 19th birthday to reach her first slam quarter-final.

"I did have to pinch myself a little bit to see that it actually happened, but like I said, I knew that my tennis, my level of tennis is there," Fernandez said post-match. "It's just a moment of time, opportunity, and I'm glad that I was able to get this opportunity now and that I was able to showcase what I can do in front of these players.

"Even if I would have lost, I would have been proud of myself with the way that I played, the way that I fought. I was lucky enough to get the win today and just getting this experience.

"It's my first fourth-round quarterfinals in a grand slam. I'm just going to enjoy it at 100 per cent, and tomorrow is going to be a new day."

Fernandez, who hit 45 winners to 34 unforced errors – added: "The match was incredible. I was playing well in the first set.

"Unfortunately I did a few mistakes. Her, as a great player, great champion, she noticed and she took advantage of it. I was able to refocus and fight back for the second.

"In the third, I was just enjoying every moment of it. Honestly, the crowd has been amazing, so thanks to them I was able to win."

"I'm just super happy," she continued. "I'm going to enjoy tonight as much as I can, and then once I'm off to bed, I'll try to forget about it so that I can get ready for tomorrow."

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