'The Most Difficult Match' - Rising Star Leylah Fernandez Reacts To Reaching Maiden US Open Semi-Final - UBITENNIS
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‘The Most Difficult Match’ – Rising Star Leylah Fernandez Reacts To Reaching Maiden US Open Semi-Final

The fairytale run continues for the Canadian who describes her win over Elina Svitolina as ‘mentally and emotionally tough.’

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Leylah Fernandez reacts during a Women's Singles quarterfinal match at the 2021 US Open, Tuesday, Sep. 7, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Darren Carroll/USTA)

Canadian rising star Leylah Fernandez kept her hot streak rolling at the US Open after battling once again to beat the world number five Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 in a marathon of two hours and 25 minutes.

The fearless performance continues what has been a dream run for the youngster who had never progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament until now. Svitolina is the third seeded player she has defeated in a row after Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber. In her latest match, Fernandez produced a total of 41 winners.

 

“Today’s match was definitely one of the hardest, not only tennis-wise but also mentally and emotionally,” Fernandez told reporters after her win. “Svitolina is a great player, great fighter.’
“I was glad I was able to fight in the first set. In the second set, she upped her level and I unfortunately made a few mistakes on the key moments. I’m glad I was able to recuperate for the third set.”

The opener stayed on serve until 3-2 when it was the Canadian who earned the first break of serve and that break of serve was enough for her to serve out the set to take a 1-0 set lead

However, Svitolina bounced back in the second set and this time she got the early break to take a 3-1 lead. Tat single breakthrough was enough for her to serve out the second set to force a third and deciding set.

The third set was where things got interesting and probably the best set out of all the three played. The Montreal native was the first to break serve to once again take a 3-1 lead. Then the world number five fighting to stay alive was able to break back to even the set at five-all. In the decisive tiebreaker, it was Fernandez who jumped out to a 4-1 lead and that was enough to seal the match.

” I can’t believe it and I worked so hard and I am so grateful for everything that has happened to me with the good and the bad and I am happy that today I was able to get through the most difficult match today”. She said.

The rising star is now set to break into the world’s top 40 as a result of her run in New York. Now in the limelight, she is embracing the sudden surge of media interest in her with the help of those around her.

“The first few days it was definitely a little bit hard. I’ve been very lucky to have a great team around me. I was very lucky to have doubles the next day to keep me grounded,” she said. “Now I feel like I’m a little bit more used to it. I have a great team around me who helps me keeping my head a little bit level and just think about my next match, not think about all the good things that are happening to me.”

Fernandez is just the third Canadian woman to reach the US Open semifinals and the youngest since Maria Sharapova 16 years ago in 2004.

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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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Sorana Cirstea Makes Winning Start To French Open After Seeking Help From Djokovic’s Coach

The Grand Slam winning mentor was seen in the crowd watching Cirstea play her first round match in Paris.

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Image via https://twitter.com/rolandgarros

Heading into her 14th French Open main draw Sorona Cristea decided to take a shot and ask for advice from one former Grand Slam champion.

 

The 32-year-old Romanian has endured a mixed results on the clay this year with a run to the semifinals of the Istanbul Open followed by three straight first round losses on the Tour. It has been a frustrating past few weeks for the Tour veteran who is currently ranked 27th in the world. Just six spots below her career-high.

Seeking further guidance for her French Open bid, Cirstea approached Goran Ivanisevic for help. The former Wimbledon champion who now works as coach of the men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic. To her delight, he agreed to give her some pointers.

He came to one of my practices two days ago. Basically, I just asked for his help and I was lucky enough to get an hour of his time,” Cirstea told reporters.
“I talked with him a little bit about what’s going through my head and just tennis. It was a very, very pleasant hour.”

Ivanisevic was seen courtside watching Cirstea play her first round match at Roland Garros on Sunday morning. The 26th seed defeated Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-3, 6-3, in just over an hour. Hitting a total of 34 winners against 26 unforced errors.

“I was very surprised to see him because I know he’s very busy with Novak,” she continued. “He was very, very kind to be there and I was happy to see him there.’
“He’s just been giving me a few tips and tricks from a Grand Slam champion, and as a coach of No. 1, and someone that has so much experience. I’m very grateful and very lucky to have the chance to spend that hour on court with him.”

This year’s French Open is the 53rd Grand Slam Cirstea has played in. She has reached six WTA finals, winning the 2008 Tashkent Open and 2021 Istanbul Open. Against top 10 players she has recorded a total of 16 wins to date.

Reflecting on her development as a player, the Romanian believes a change in perspective has enabled her to enjoy more success on the Tour in recent years. Cristea has been continuously ranked in the world’s top 100 since September 2019.

“When I was younger, I was taking the losses a bit much, they were hurting a bit too much, where now I am much more relaxed, much more at peace,” she explains.
“You cannot change what happened last week, so why bother? Try to learn and then just go forward with the positive mindset.”

Cirstea will play Sloane Stephens in the second round of Roland Garros. Stephens, who is unseeded in the draw, battled back from a set down to defeat Germany’s Jule Niemeier 5-7, 6-4, 6-2.

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Casper Ruud reaches his second consecutive final in Geneva

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Reigning Geneva Open champion Casper Ruud battled past Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 to reach his second consecutive final at the Gonet Geneva Open. 

 

Ruud, who beat Denis Shapovalov in the Geneva Open final, has extended his head-to-head record against Opelka to 4-0. 

Ruud has not dropped a set this week. The Norwegian becomes the first player to advance to multiple finals at the Geneva Open since local favourite Stan Wawrinka won this tournament in 2016 and 2017. 

Opelka won just 67 % of his first serve points and never earned a break point. Ruud earned two mini-breaks in the tie-break of the first set and converted his only break point at 5-5 in the 11th game and sealed the win with back to back aces. Ruud improved his record to 10-5 on this year’s European clay season. The Norwegian won the Buenos Aires title and reached the semifinal in Rome and the final in Miami. 

Ruud hit just four aces to just 12 for Opelka. 

“I am looking forward to the final tomorrow. It was a tough match today against Opelka like it always is. The serve he has is incredibly  difficult to return. I was able to take the small chances I had and I feel like I served well and was solid with not too many mistakes. That is the key in matches like this”, said Ruud. 

Ruud set up a final against Joao Sousa, who cruised past Richard Gasquet 6-2 6-2 with two breaks in each set to reach his 12th ATP Tour final. Sousa has reached the final of the Geneva Open for the second time in his career after his run to the title match in 2015. Sousa won 73% of his service points and converted four of his ten break points.

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