Filipino-Canadian Fernandez knocks out another champion to reach US Open quarterfinal
Leylah Fernandez brushed aside yet another former champion as the fearless Canadian teenager stormed into the quarter-finals of the U.S. Open on Sunday with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-2 win over 16th seed Angelique Kerber.
It was a precocious and poised performance from Fernandez, who celebrates her 19th birthday on Monday and had already sent a jolt through Flushing Meadows on Friday when she stunned third seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka.
There would be no letdown for Fernandez after the biggest win of her fledgling career, the youngster soaking up the energy from a seething Louis Armstrong crowd after dropping the opening set to three-times Grand Slam winner Kerber.
Fernandez had grabbed the early break at 4-2 but could not consolidate it as Kerber, the 2016 U.S. Open winner, broke right back with the help of a pair of double-faults by the Canadian.
Having made the breakthrough, the experienced German quickly took command, winning four straight games to open up a 1-0 lead.
But Fernandez remained unfazed, fist-pumping and screaming with each winner throughout a tight second set that went to a tie-break that she took 7-5.
Kerber, 15 years older than her opponent, countered Fernandez’s enthusiasm with veteran calm and focus, but it was the 73rd ranked Canadian taking charge in the third, sweeping the final five games to cinch a breathtaking victory.
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