Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times
Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA


Leylah Fernandez upsets no. 2 Sabalenka, reaches US Open final

When the tournament started, no one thought a then-18-year-old one-time winner of a non-major would be in the final of the US Open.

Leylah Fernandez did just that, and in convincing fashion. She took down world no. 2 in Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-4, in the women’s singles semifinal of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, Friday (Manila time).

The feat was all the more impressive as she took down favorites Naomi Osaka, Angelie Kerber, and Elina Svitolina in succession. Then she outlasted the powerful Belorussian in three hard-fought sets.

Fernandez took advantage of the Sabalenka’s fatigue, as she’d muscled her way into every shot throughout the match. Finally, in that most important service game, the young gun outlasted the experience from the latter. She comfortably took the decisive break of serve – the final game of the match.

“There were so many things that are happening right now. I met Billie Jean King, I met Juan Martin Del Potro, I got Steve Nash in my box. I got my whole family,” Fernandez said after marking her Grand Slam final debut.

And when asked who among Emma Raducanu, a fellow teener, and Maria Sakkari, would she like to play, the Canadian simply said, “I don’t care. I just want to be in a final right now.”

It was not a dream start for Fernandez, though. She felt the power of the Sabalenka serve on the onset and dug a very huge 1-4 hole. However, the Canadian teen used the pace of the opponent’s shots to make her own winners. She was then able to level the set at 4-apiece, and from there it was a battle.

#ReadMore  Filbasket bares PSC advised them to follow DOH circular

Fernandez zoomed into the early lead in the tiebreak, but Sabalenka leaned once more on her power to take the slim 3-2 advantage. Nonetheless, the 19-year-old unseeded player navigated through each shot. She forced the Belorussian to make unfortunate timely errors – including a third double fault – to eventually turn the set into her favor.

That confidence carried the Fil-Ecuadorian – but a Canadian citizen – through on service up to a deadlock at 4-apiece in the following set. The Belarusian had other plans, however. She took advantage of the shaky final service game from Fernandez and wrapped the setup to force the decider.

The final between Fernandez and the winner of the Raducanu-Sakkari takes place on Saturday at 4:00 PM in New York (Sunday, 4:00 AM in Manila). The winner will earn her first-ever Grand Slam title and all its perks.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

You May Also Like


Carlo Biado did not let a slow start deny him of his dream. Figuring in an early deficit, Biado stormed back against Aloysius Yapp...


Leylah Fernandez made some rousing comebacks this week in the US Open. However, Emma Raducanu was different from the rest. Raducanu bested Fernandez in...


The dream run for first-time partners Alex Eala and Hanne Vanderwinkel came to a close. The Filipino-Belgian pair could not follow up on their...


World no. 2 Alex Eala was another victim of the day of upsets in the juniors girls’ draw.  Dampened by the rain, the 16-year-old...


Despite playing her second match with little rest, Alex Eala proved more than the stress and fatigue of big-time competition. Eala and first-time partner...


Alex Eala booked her place in the quarterfinal after turning back Greece’s Michaela Laki, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the third round of the 2021...


Drawing a comparison to the retired tennis great Maria Sharapova due to her style of play, Leylah Fernandez just made a step closer to...


Less than two months after a successful double championship in Italy, Alex Eala is back on the big stage.  The no. 2 seed wasted...