The victory was the latest in Fernandez’s string of strong wins over highly-touted players, starting with an upset victory over Naomi Osaka, the 2018 and 2020 US Open champion, followed by her triumphs over Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina.
AFTER struggling to take a lead in the first three games, Filipino-Canadian Leylah Fernandez’s perseverance paid off as she edged No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-4 Thursday night (September 9), earning the right to play for a Grand Slam title.
This was the latest in Fernandez’s string of stromg victories, starting with an upset victory over Naomi Osaka, the 2018 and 2020 US Open champion, followed by her triumphing over Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina.
"That's years and years and years of hard work and tears and blood," said Fernandez, who could give Canada its second US Open women's title in three years, following Bianca Andreescu's triumph in 2019.
"Everything. On court, off court. Sacrifices."
Her style is all about reflexes and court coverage, reaching everything and immediately redirecting balls back over the net, although she did produce one early love hold that featured a trio of aces and a service winner, albeit much slower than Sabalenka's deliveries.
Fernandez went from 4-1 down to 4-all in a blink. Sabalenka came within a point of taking that set, leading 6-5 while Fernandez served at 30-40.
But that chance was wasted when a forehand found the net.
In the tiebreaker, Sabalenka went up 2-0 and then completely lost her way.
"I wouldn't say that she did something," Sabalenka said. "I would say that I [destroyed] myself."
Fernandez will play for the title against 18-year old British qualifier Emma Raducanu, who defeated Greek Maria Sakkari in a later semifinals match that same day.
(With report from ESPN)
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