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Leylah Annie Fernandez looks back on the final set to sink Belinda Bencic at the French Open | French Open 2022

It would have been fair to think that Belinda Bencic had speeded away in the third round of the game during a short cool afternoon at the vast Court Philippe-Chatrie. She counterattacked all levels in one set from the deficit in the first set, then established a 2-0, 40-0 lead and distanced in the final set.

But in the course of her short career, Leylah Fernandez stood still across the net, these tight moments when she returned to the wall are often when her own best version appears. I showed that. Fernandez regained a break in the game, and she broke through five of the next six games, defeating Bencic 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to reach the final 16. French Open first time.

It’s been eight months since the two teenagers Fernandez and Emma Raducanu faced each other in the US Open final. Raducanu is not alone in experiencing the complex nature of following up on breakthrough results. 19-year-old Fernandez won rounds in most tournaments and also won the Monterrey Open in February. This is her second WTA title and the tournament brought the only quarterfinals she has reached since September.

Canadians are very ambitious and focused, and these results do not meet the very high standards she has set herself. But as Fernandez described the first five months of the season as “up and down,” she evaluated her progress with her remarkable maturity.

“We don’t see it like this-how do you say this? -As a failure, the first five months,” she said. “It looks better because there are so many things to improve. You can just get better. What we want to do is just get better. It’s the beauty of tennis, there are weekly tournaments, and the technique. It’s great if it works. If that doesn’t work, you can go back to the drawing board and get ready for the next week and the tournament. “

Leylah Fernandez makes a backhand shot against Belinda Bencic. Photos: High Quality Sports Images / Getty Images

Since New York, Fernandez has seen a lot of support as her profile changes in Canada. Her subway commercials are broadcast frequently, she has a new apparel deal with Lululemon, and her new outfit is marked by Morgan Stanley and EasyPost ads. But above all, she decided to recreate the tennis she made there.

“I think I put a little more pressure on myself after the US Open,” she said. “It’s normal because I want to recreate what I did at the US Open many times. After the first few tournaments, I think I’ve accepted that I don’t play the same every time.

“I just have to find a solution and keep working hard. Throughout the year, I’ve been sticking to it, bowing down and grinding it every day.”

Clay Court in Paris is a good place for Fernandez’s first decent show in this year’s majors. She already has a clay pedigree: the 2019 French Open Junior Champion, a year later she returned as a top 100 player and reached the third round. Against Bencic, she showed all of the various accents of the game that fit snugly on the surface: her heavy left-handed forehand, sharp angles that can be produced from both wings from every part of the court, and smoothness. Her preference for drop shots is everything on the surface of the house.

This is a great opportunity for Fernandez in the lower half of the draw and all the other players around her. At the beginning of the day, Bencic, seeded in 14th place, was the best left in the section after Barbora Kletikova, Garbine Muguruza, Anett Kontaveit, Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari all lost in the first five days. It was a rank seed.

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Many are young players. Amanda Anisimova, 20, was lucky enough to move on to the fourth round after Karolina Muchova retired as Anisimova led 6-7 (7) 6-2, 3-0. Only 18-year-old Coco Gauff calmly treated 36-year-old Kaia Kanepi and reached the fourth round with 6-3 and 6-4 victories.

Leylah Annie Fernandez looks back on the final set to sink Belinda Bencic at the French Open | French Open 2022

Source link Leylah Annie Fernandez looks back on the final set to sink Belinda Bencic at the French Open | French Open 2022

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