30 Nov 2021 | 07:21
Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 19, will carry her historic US Open run into the final. World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka was Fernandez’s latest victim, as the teenager defeated her in three sets (7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4) in Thursday’s semifinal to reach her first Grand Slam final.
After beginning the tournament unseeded, the 73rd-ranked Fernandez shocked the world by defeating two top-five seeds in defending champion Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina, along with a former Grand Slam champion in Angelique Kerber. Fernandez was the youngest woman to take down two top-five seeds since a then 17-year-old Serena Williams did in 1999.
Fernandez’s win over Belarus’ Sabalenka gave her an incredible third win over a top-five seed. The win was big for Fernandez and her country, as the only other Canadian woman to reach the US Open singles final was Bianca Andreescu in 2019.
Fernandez will play 18-year-old Emma Radacunu of Britain, who upset No. 17 Maria Sakkari of Greece, in Saturday’s final. Raducanu, who has been nearly as impressive as Fernandez, has already topped four top-50 opponents in Flushing Meadows.
After her semifinal victory, Fernandez credited the New York crowd for helping her win.
“They’ve cheered for me, and they never gave up,” Fernandez said. “They never gave up for me. They fought for me. And thanks to you, I was able to win.”