Coming into the US Open it had been a difficult ride for Leylah Fernandez on the main WTA Tour. Having won the title in Monterrey she had slipped under the radar, the Canadian was struggling in some qualifying events and won just four of her previous eleven WTA main draw matches.
Starting your US Open with wins over Ana Konjuh and Kaia Kanepi shows you mean business. Both players have caused big upsets in the past and without a set dropped Leylah looked in good form.
Previewing her match against Naomi I did think, it’s possible and the possibility became a really with a 5-7 7-6 6-4 win over the two time US Open champion.
It was a performance which had style, confidence and fed off the energy of a packed Arthur Ashe crowd. Leylah not only plays with confidence but speaks with it, after the match she was asked:
Q – At what point in the match did the belief come in, that you felt that you could win against Naomi?
Leylah – From the very beginning, right before the match I knew I was able to win
She did find herself almost going out, the Canadian was 5-7 5-6 down with Naomi serving for the match and broke her for the first time to keep the match going.
Her speed around her forehand is something that exceptional, being left handed I’ve always thought is a benefit, the raw power and direction off a ball on the forehand so quickly is beautiful to watch.
I like this play a lot, it is quick reaction, little time to set but the forehand is instinctive, powerful and gets the opponent running!
Once again we can see from Leylah’s feet she is yet to set herself, she is still backing up into the forehand but it is a shot you don’t have to be set. She pulls it out-wide keeping Naomi on the run but could also push it back up the line.
It’s not just instinctive but also played with a control and opponents fear it and fear her.
Against Angie Kerber she once again was the star of the show. It was a exceptional performance from the Canadian who was a set and a break down to the German but her fight and resilience is magnificent. The power she generates is sometimes unexpected but ruthless.
Sunday nights match against Angie Kerber was a joy to watch, she fought soo hard and kept believing creating another stunning atmosphere.
Leylah will now play against Elina Svitolina for a place in the semi-finals of the US Open!