US Open: It's the maple syrup! Fernandez revels in reaching Flushing Meadows semi-final

By Sports Desk September 07, 2021

US Open semi-finalist Leylah Fernandez joked Canada's staple sweet treat must be behind the country's emergence of talent after she continued her remarkable run at Flushing Meadows.

Fernandez – who turned 19 on Monday – beat world number five Elina Svitolina  6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) to book her spot in the last four in New York.

She is the youngest player to reach the semi-finals at the major since Maria Sharapova back in 2005, and has already beat defending champion Naomi Osaka and former world number one Angelique Kerber.

Fernandez won her first title earlier in the season, triumphing in Monterrey, but this was her first appearance in a grand slam quarter, and she had to come through it in a third-set tie-break – the seventh at this year's edition of the tournament, already more than in the previous three combined.

She is not the only youngster flying the flag for Canada, however, with Felix Auger-Aliassime in action in the men's side of the draw, facing Spain's Carlos Alcaraz – the youngest ever quarter-finalist at the US Open in the Open Era.

Asked in her on-court interview for the reason Canada are producing such talented youngsters, an ecstatic Fernandez quipped: "I would say it's the maple syrup! The Canadian maple syrup is very good!"

Explaining her win, Fernandez said: "I honestly have no idea what I'm feeling right now. I was so nervous, thank you so much to the crowd, the New York crowd, cheering me on, fighting for me, never giving up for me. Thanks to you I was able to push through today.

"Svitolina, she's a great player, she fought for everything, she runs for everything, she deserves to be in the quarter-finals and I'm honoured to have a fight with her.

"I told myself to trust my shots, trust that everything was going to go well and even if I lose, I had to go for it and I'm glad I did."

 

Fernandez is coached by her father, who was not in attendance at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"He told me to go out there, have fun, fight for every ball, for every point," the teenager said.

"Today's your first quarter-final, don't make it your last, don't make it your last match over here, fight for your dream.

"My family tell me after every match to just enjoy it, tomorrow is a new day, I'll start from zero and work hard now."

Next up is a semi-final with either Aryna Sabelenka or Barbora Krejcikova, the winner of this year's French Open.

"I'm not going to think about it," Fernandez concluded. "I'm going to enjoy tonight, I'll leave the planning and strategy to my dad back home."

Related items

  • French Open: How triumphant Alcaraz kept nerves at bay when facing match point French Open: How triumphant Alcaraz kept nerves at bay when facing match point

    Carlos Alcaraz kept the nerves at bay when facing match point against Albert Ramos-Vinolas by forgetting that he was playing at the French Open.

    The sixth seed saved match point in the fourth set and rallied from 0-3 in the fifth set to complete a 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 success on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

    Teenager Alcaraz enjoyed an emphatic start against his fellow Spaniard, but the experienced Ramos-Vinolas showed admirable poise to take the second and third sets in Paris on Wednesday.

    Ramos-Vinolas' ability to fight off break points – coupled with Alcaraz's lack of ruthlessness – gave him the upper hand, and he came within one point of knocking out the Madrid Open champion.

    But he crumbled on his own serve at 5-4 in the fourth, and from there Alcaraz's greater mobility and relentlessness when chasing seemingly lost causes had the 19-year-old looking the favourite.

    Eventually he came out on top after the longest match of his fledgling career at four hours and 34 minutes, setting up a third-round clash with Sebastian Korda.

    "You always have nerves in the match, but I think today I wasn't nervous," said Alcaraz.

    "Just maybe at the end of the fourth when I had the match point [to save]. I maybe thought I was one point away from losing, but just try not to think that I'm in the French Open.

    "I'm trying to enjoy the moment. I think that in the fourth set, and in the fifth, I smile with my team.

    "I enjoy the battles. I want to play big battles and tough battles against the best players in the world."

    Alcaraz was won four titles this year, including success at two ATP 1000 events, and feels at home playing on the show courts.

    "I'm still young, but I would say pretty experienced player now," said Alcaraz.

    "I feel comfortable playing in big stadiums, big matches, playing in grand slams. Physically. I'm strong. Mentally, I'm strong as well.

    "I think I'm ready to play these kinds of matches in these situations, these tournaments. I'm ready."

  • French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win French Open: Nadal brushes off Moutet to seal 300th grand slam match win

    Rafael Nadal recorded his 300th grand slam match win by easing into the third round of the French Open, beating Corentin Moutet in straight sets.

    The 'King of Clay' is in search of a record-extending 22nd major title at Roland Garros, where he was dethroned by Novak Djokovic last year.

    On this evidence, Nadal is in the form to re-establish his dominion of the tournament, overcoming a spirited home hope, who enjoyed the benefit of vocal support from the crowd on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Wednesday evening.

    Nadal will see room for improvement having failed to serve the match out in the third set, but a 6-3 6-1 6-4 win was never in doubt.

    The tone for a procession was established when Nadal raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set, and Moutet's dream of playing his idol soon appeared to be turning into a nightmare.

    Nadal won the second set in commanding fashion behind an excellent first serve, but found Moutet's resistance more stern in the third.

    That spirit was exemplified by Moutet breaking Nadal's serve with the Spaniard ahead 5-3. However, Nadal immediately responded in kind, dominating Moutet from the back of the court and wrapping up a landmark victory when the Frenchman sent a lob long at the end of an entertaining rally.

    Nadal will face Botic Van De Zandschulp in the third round.

     

    Data Slam: Nadal 107-3 opponents

    As well as being his 300th grand slam match win, Nadal's triumph was his 107th at Roland Garros. He has still only tasted defeat in Paris three times. The fifth seed won all 11 of his first-serve points in the second set of another impressive display.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Nadal – 27/22
    Moutet – 16/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Nadal – 1/2
    Moutet – 0/3

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Nadal – 7/12
    Moutet – 2/4

  • Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title Roma 1-0 Feyenoord: Zaniolo secures Giallorossi's first major European title

    Nicolo Zaniolo led Roma to their first major continental title with a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana on Wednesday. 

    After suffering a defeat in the 1984 European Cup final and missing out on UEFA Cup glory seven years later, the Serie A side were not to be denied an elusive European triumph and lifted their first trophy since the Coppa Italia in 2008. 

    Zaniolo, who missed the entire 2020-21 season after suffering a second ACL injury in under a year, dinked in an exemplary finish in the 32nd minute to put Roma in charge. 

    Feyenoord upped their game after the restart and were denied by the woodwork twice in three minutes, but Jose Mourinho's men tightened up and saw out a famous victory.

    The meeting between the competition's two most prolific sides was bereft of goalmouth action for much of the first half, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan's withdrawal due to injury the most notable event in the opening half hour. 

    Roma moved in front with the first real chance of the match, though, as Zaniolo brought down Gianluca Mancini's excellent delivery with his chest and stabbed an instinctive finish home. 

    Feyenoord made a bright start to the second half and Mancini diverted a fizzed low cross onto the near post of his own goal before Rui Patricio parried Guus Til's follow-up behind. 

    Patricio produced a stunning stop in the 50th minute when he tipped a ferocious 20-yard drive from Tyrell Malacia onto the woodwork. 

    Justin Bijlow denied Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini as Roma tried to get a second on the break, but Bryan Linssen was unable to connect with Cyriel Dessers' flick-on in stoppage time on a painful evening for Feyenoord.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.