Teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her giant-killing run at the US Open as she defeated fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
Canada’s Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, showed all of her devastating power to win a tense tie-break 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) in New York.
Fernandez is the youngest women to reach the US Open singles semi-finals since Maria Sharapova in 2005, getting there a day after her 19th birthday.
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“Svitolina, she’s a great player, she fought for everything, she runs for everything,” Fernandez said.
“I’m honoured to have a fight with her. I just told myself to trust my shots, trust that everything’s going to go well. Even if I lose, I’ve got to go for it, and I’m glad I did.”
Fernandez has knocked out two US Open champions so far: Naomi Osaka in the third round and Angelique Kerber in the fourth.
The teenager’s self-belief and trust in her shots were on full display in a stellar third set.
The tenacious Svitolina hauled her way back from 2-5 down to force a deciding tiebreak, and therein came from 1-4 down to level at 5-5, but Fernandez never blinked.
It was the first time she had won a third-set tiebreak at Tour level.
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Remarkably, this is just Fernandez’s third Tour-level semifinal, and first above 250 level.
Previously, she had reached her maiden WTA final at Acapulco 2020, and captured her first title in Monterrey this March.
“Honestly after my [first WTA singles title in February] in Monterrey, I was training well, playing well,” Fernandez added.
“Just a few bad matches here and there. I always went back to work. Went back home to work harder, try to improve my game.”
Currently ranked World No.73, she will crack the Top 50 for the first time next Monday.
Spent Carlos Alcaraz retires from QF
Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime moved into the US Open semi-finals on Tuesday when Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz retired due to an abductor injury while trailing 6-3, 3-1.
Coming off gruelling back-to-back five-set matches, including a third-round win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alcaraz stepped onto the court with both legs heavily strapped and seemed to lack the power and energy that had carried him to the quarter-finals.
During the first changeover of the second set, Alcaraz called for the physiotherapist but did not receive any treatment. A game later, however, the Spaniard turned and indicated he could not go on.