No Leylah Fernandez fairytale in Australian Open after early exit
MELBOURNE—There will be no Australian Open fairytale for Leylah Fernandez this year after a bad day at the office saw the Canadian teenager bundled out in the first round by Maddie Inglis on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old’s run to the U.S. Open final against Emma Raducanu was one of the stories of last year but Melbourne Park is not a happy hunting ground for her.
The 6-4 6-2 loss to the Australian wildcard marked the third straight year Fernandez had fallen at the first hurdle at the year’s opening Grand Slam.
“Too many mistakes,” said Fernandez, whose mother is of Filipino descent. “I’ll give credit to Maddie. She played a great match from beginning to end.
“Now it’s just get back on the practice court, get ready for the next tournament and the next match and see how it goes on the next Grand Slam.”
Inglis seized the advantage with a break in the seventh game to take the opening set and then opened up a 4-0 lead in the second with a double break.
Fernandez, who accumulated 30 unforced errors, had two of her three breakpoint opportunities in the sixth game of the second set, but failed to convert as Inglis stayed solid to secure victory on her third match point.
“Today was just a bad day in the office,” the 23rd seed added. “The solutions that I was trying to come up with, I was making mistakes and just wasn’t a good day today.”
There's nothing like your first Grand Slam win 🙌
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 18, 2022ADVERTISEMENT
Inglis had lost her previous two meetings with Fernandez and Tuesday’s victory was her first in the main draw of a Grand Slam in five attempts.
“I had thought of that moment for a long time. It was just pure happiness,” the 24-year-old from Perth said of her emotions after Fernandez sent a forehand long on match point.
“I’m really so happy I could have it here in Melbourne with all my friends and family there. It was incredible. Really lucky.”
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