World No. 73 Leylah Annie Fernandez admitted she felt tired toward the end of her US Open round-of-16 match against Angelique Kerber but she stuck to her game and it paid off.
Fernandez, who stunned world No. 3 Naomi Osaka a round earlier, collected another surprise win after beating former world No. 1 Kerber 4-6 7-6 (5) 6-2.
Fernandez, who entered the match as the underdog, found herself down by a set but kept believing she could pull off an upset.
“I was honestly tired in the third set, but with that thought, I was telling myself, like, If I’m tired, she must be exhausted. Just try to put one more ball back in as much as possible. Like I said, trust my game that everything is going to work out,” Fernandez said after her big win, per WTA Insider.
Fernandez was in a tough spot
After losing her serve in the opening game of the match, Fernandez responded with two breaks to take a 4-2 lead.
After losing her service twice, Kerber responded with two breaks on her own to win four games in a row and win the opener.
Fernandez, who found herself down by a break early in the second set, managed to force a tie-break — in which she took a 5-1 lead before realizing her third set point to force a decider.
After saving a break point in the fourth game of the third set, Fernandez claimed back-to-back breaks to finish the match in style and complete a comeback win.
Kerber gave Fernandez credit for the performance she put up.
“I gave everything I had today. She played I think an unbelievable match, especially in the third set, also in the second,” Kerber said.
“I think she played also one of her best matches in her career, and she had nothing to lose. She went out there, she played her tennis.”