Leylah Fernandez is a self-described “happy-go-lucky girl” having the time of her life at Flushing Meadows, elevating her fists, pumping her arms and riling up crowds whereas beating two previous U.S. Open champions to succeed in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
A day earlier than her nineteenth birthday, the unseeded left-hander from Canada grabbed the final 5 video games to remove 2016 title winner Angelique Kerber 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Sunday, demonstrating that an earlier upset of defending champion Naomi Osaka was actually no fluke. With grit and guile, plus a veteran’s poise within the face of massive deficits in opposition to way more achieved opponents, Fernandez is displaying strokes and a demeanor that left Kerber providing this evaluation: “She can go really far in the next few years.”
How About Over The Next Week?
ANOTHER UPSET WIN FOR @leylahfernandez ‼️
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 5, 2021
Rise Of Alcaraz
There’s no time like the current for the kids in tennis: Also into the quarterfinals with a win Sunday was Carlos Alcaraz, an 18-year-old from Spain who turned the youngest man to get that far on the U.S. Open since 1963 by outlasting his 32-year-old foe, 141st-ranked qualifier Peter Gojowczyk of Germany, 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
The Fifty fifth-ranked Alcaraz bought previous No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in his earlier match and is the youngest participant with two five-set Grand Slam wins in a row since Michael Chang was 16 on the 1988 U.S. Open.
There’s one more 18-year-old in fourth-round motion Monday: Emma Raducanu of Britain, who performs Shelby Rogers of the U.S.
Fresh Faces Grab Their Chance
Ask Fernandez for the key to her success, and she or he repeatedly mentions two elements. One is being positive to get pleasure from her time on courtroom. The different is help of household, as a result of her father, who’s from Ecuador, her mom, who’s Filipino Canadian, and her sisters “have definitely kept the joy for me.” She credit Dad _ who coaches her and has been providing directions in each day telephone calls whereas again residence, caring for a youthful sibling _ and Mom _ who’s main the cheers with different relations and Fernandez’s health coach in courtside seats _ with educating a helpful lesson that has nothing to do with tennis.
They made positive to emphasise, Fernandez mentioned, that “you can’t take things too seriously, you’ve got to be mature but at the same time just be a kid, let loose, have fun, eat chocolate when you want to, and just have fun, watch movies, go past your bedtime.” Just as in opposition to Osaka in Arthur Ashe Stadium two nights earlier, Fernandez dropped the opening set in opposition to Kerber in Louis Armstrong Stadium, which was so full that would-be spectators had been being turned away on the doorways.
And simply as in opposition to Osaka, Fernandez trailed within the second set: Kerber led by a break at 4-2.
Both instances, the 73rd-ranked Fernandez managed to get people within the seats on her aspect, exulting with each of her on-the-run, impossible-angle groundstrokes that added as much as a 45-28 edge in winners.
Fernandez redirects opponent’s pictures swiftly and seemingly with ease, generally dropping to a knee close to the baseline to get the right leverage. That’s a really comparable model to the each other lefty, Kerber, used to succeed in No. 1 within the rankings and declare three Grand Slam titles. Kerber is 33 and has been enjoying nicely sufficient currently to get to the Wimbledon semifinals in July, however as a substitute of that have paying off, Fernandez figured the age distinction labored in her favor as the competition stretched previous two hours.
“I was honestly tired in the third set,“ Fernandez acknowledged. “But with that thought, I was telling myself, like, `If I’m tired, she must be exhausted.”’ Still, within the final set, Kerber held a break level with an opportunity to go up 3-1. Fernandez erased that probability with a cross-court forehand winner. Kerber wouldn’t declare one other sport.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 6, 2021
When it ended, Fernandez lifted her arms, then leaned ahead to place her fingers on her knees and smiled. She stood and patted her chest along with her palm, whereas Kerber walked across the web to supply a clasp of fingers and an arm round Fernandez’s shoulders. “I remember the feeling really well,” Kerber mentioned when requested about enjoying with the type of loose-grip freedom Fernandez shows. “I mean it’s (a) few years ago. But of course, I mean, she has no pressure.”
Now Fernandez, who solely as soon as had been so far as the third spherical at a serious event till now, will meet No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina within the quarterfinals. Another ladies’s matchup Tuesday can be No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in opposition to two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza or 2021 French Open champ Barbora Krejcikova.
Fernandez and Alcaraz are amongst a number of recent faces making strikes at this most tumultuous of U.S. Opens, the place the query initially of every day has develop into, “Who will pull off a surprise?” _ and there are usually a number of solutions by every evening. Consider Botic van de Zandschulp additionally a part of Sunday’s group. He’s a 25-year-old Dutchman ranked 117th who turned simply the third male qualifier to get to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows because the Open period started in 1968.
As it’s, solely 9 seeded males made it to Week 2, the fewest on the U.S. Open since 2005, and van de Zandschulp diminished the full by one with a 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 victory over No. 11 Diego Schwartzman in 4 hours, 20 minutes. Next for van de Zandschulp comes No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, whereas Alcaraz will go up in opposition to No. 12 Felix Auger-Aliassime or Frances Tiafoe. “Before the tournament,” van de Zandschulp noticed, “no one expected me to reach the quarterfinals here.”
Seems truthful. And applies to gamers akin to Fernandez and Alcaraz, too.