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Leylah Fernandez, 19, advances to U.S. Open final

Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates after match point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates after match point against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus (not pictured) on day eleven of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Leylah Fernandez will take her stunning U.S. Open run all the way to the final.

The unseeded Canadian teen edged second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday night in New York.

Fernandez, who is 19 years, 3 days old, is the youngest U.S. Open finalist since Serena Williams won the title in 1999 at 17 years, 11 months old.

Her final-round opponent will be the winner of the late Thursday match between 18-year-old British qualifier Emma Raducanu and 17th-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece.

En route to the title match, Fernandez produced three-set wins over third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan (the defending champion), 16th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine and now the No. 2 seed.

The stunning surge comes after a difficult summer for Fernandez, who is ranked 73rd in the world. She lost in the first or second round of 11 consecutive events after winning her first career title at Monterrey, Mexico, in March.

Fernandez produced 26 winners and 23 errors in her semifinal win. Sabalenka, 23, had 45 winners but committed 52 unforced errors.

In the decisive third set, Fernandez broke serve for a 4-2 lead, but Sabalenka broke right back. With Sabalenka serving at 5-4 to stay in the match, Fernandez won four consecutive points to advance.

“I just wanted to be in the finals,” Fernandez said. “I fought for every point. I don’t know how I got that last point in, but I’m glad it was.”

She added, “Thanks to the New York crowd. Thanks to you, I was able to win.”

–Field Level Media