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Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez soars into U.S. Open semis

Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine (not pictured) on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada reacts after winning a point against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine (not pictured) on day nine of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez continued her scintillating run through the draw with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory over fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina on Tuesday in New York to reach the U.S. Open semifinals.

Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, is the youngest woman to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 18-year-old Maria Sharapova in 2005.

Her next match will be against either second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus or eighth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic. Those two women meet Tuesday night.

“I obviously have no idea what I’m feeling right now,” Fernandez said after her latest upset. She also beat third-seeded Naomi Osaka and 16th-seeded Angelique Kerber earlier in this event.

The latest big triumph didn’t come without drama as Fernandez let a 5-2 lead get away in the third set.

Svitolina won three straight games to tie it, Fernandez went up 6-5 and then Svitolina again knotted it to force a tiebreak.

The tiebreak was tied at 5 when a shot down the baseline by Fernandez tipped the net and slightly changed its path past Svitolina. The Ukraine native put her hand to her mouth in disbelief.

Fernandez then served for the match and Svitolina’s return was long to end the match in two hours and 27 minutes. Fernandez fell to the court on her knees in disbelief that she had booked her spot in the semifinals.

“Svitolina, she’s a great player, she fought for everything, she runs for everything, she deserves to be in the quarterfinals and I’m honored to have a fight with her,” Fernandez said. “I told myself to trust my shots, trust that everything is going to go well and even if I lose, I’ve got to go for it. I’m glad I did.”

Fernandez recorded 42 winners and 31 unforced errors. Svitolina held an 8-1 edge in aces and had 32 winners and 25 unforced errors.

–Field Level Media