Leylah Fernandez backed up her third-round upset over Naomi Osaka with a fourth-round upset over 16th seed and 2016 US Open champion, Angelique Kerber. The teenager won the battle of the southpaws, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-2 in two hours and 15 minutes.
For the space of one-and-a-half sets, the German looked to be placed comfortably placed against her 18-year-old opponent. However, as had happened in her match against Osaka, Fernandez made yet a comeback for the second time that not only proved to be timely but also crucial in the way it changed the entire momentum of the match.
US Open: Barbora Krejcikova thwarts Garbine Muguruza’s comeback
Kerber broke the Canadian in the third game of the second set and consolidated her serve thereafter. However, while trying to serve for a 5-3 lead in the set, she was broken back to love and from that moment on, it was as though Fernandez had a second wind. Kerber faced a set point in the 12th game but saved it to push the set into the tie-break. In the tie-break, Fernandez raced away to a 5-2 lead and had two set points at 6-4. Kerber saved the first but wasn’t able to do much on the second, with Fernandez thus levelling the match at a set apiece.
In the final set, Kerber held her serve just twice with Fernandez winning the last four games of the set to make it to the last eight at a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. She hit 45 winners to Kerber’s 28 and had 34 unforced errors, 12 more than her opponent’s 22.
In the last eight, Fernandez will play fifth seed Elina Svitolina.
The second quarter-final in the bottom half of the US Open women’s singles draw will be contested between eighth seed Barbora Krejcikova and second seed Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarusian won 6-4, 6-1 against 15th seed Elise Mertens in their fourth-round clash. Meanwhile, in a late-night entertainer, the Czech overcame mid-match illness to oust the ninth-seeded Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 7-6(4) after an hour and 53 minutes of play.
Photo Credit: Pete Staples/USTA