'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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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Jasmine Paolini lifts her first WTA title in Portoroz

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Jasmine Paolini claimed the first WTA Tour title of her career in Portoroz. The Italian player came back from two breaks down in the opening set to beat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 in the final after 1 hour and 45 minutes.

 

“I think it’s been an amazing week here in Portoroz. I just feel very happy. It’s a big achievement for me, to win my first title. On hardcourts, it’s special. I think I was maybe a bit relaxed. I understood more about the game. I tried to change the rhythm of the game with higher balls, and I think that was the key”, said Paolini. 

Paolini beat Dayana Yastremska in the first round, Sorana Cristea in the quarter final, and Yulia Putintseva. The 25-year-old Italian player beat three top 50 players in a row in her final three matches this week. 

After a trade of breaks in the opening two games, Riske went up a double break to take a 5-2 lead. Paolini pulled one break back in the eight game from 3-5. The Italian broke at love in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5, as Riske was serving for the set. Riske rallied from 2-5 to 4-5 in the tie-break. 

Paolini earned two set points at 6-4 and converted her first set point when Riske sent an overhead long. Paolini broke serve in the fifth game with a forehand winner down the line to take a 3-2 lead. Paolini won the final five games and sealed the second set 6-2 with an error-forcing forehand.

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Clare Tauson claims her second WTA Tour title at the age of 18

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World number 70 Clare Tauson has won the second WTA Tour title of her career at the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open this season beating Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 4-6 6-4 in the final after 2 hours and 3 minutes. 

 

Tauson enjoyed a great week in which she up number 4 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-1) in the second round and this year’s Olympic finalist Marketa Vondrousova 6-4 2-6 6-4 in the semifinals. Tauson won her first title as a qualifer in another indoor tournament in Lyon last March in just her second Tour-level tournament. Tauson also won the WTA 125 trophy in Chicago last August beating Emma Raducanu, who went on to win the US Open last week. 

Tauson is one of the four players born in 2002 ranked in the the tpè 100 alongside Raducanu, the other US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and Marta Kostyuk. 

The Danish teenager is the seventh player to claim more trophies, joining Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Barbora Krejikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasakina. 

Ostapenko won the Luxembourg tournament on her debut at this tournament in 2019 and had been undefeated before today’s tournament. 

Tauson has become the fourth player to successfully defend the Luxembourg title after Jana Novotna, Martina Navratilova and Kim Cljisters. 

Ostapenko hit a smash to break Tauson to take a 6-3 lead. The Latvian player earned an early break to take a 2-1 lead. Tauson broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Ostapenko fired return winners to take a 2-1 lead with a break. Tauson broke back with two straight return winners. Tauson fended off two break points to hold serve after a marathon five-deuce for 3-2. Ostapenko was broken after a fourth double fault, when she was serving to stay in the match at 4-5. 

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