Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez upsets No. 31 seed at French Open

Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez upsets No. 31 seed at French Open

PARIS — Canada’s Leylah Annie Fernandez rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory over No. 31 seed Magda Linette of Poland in her main-draw debut at the French Open on Monday.

The 18-year-old from Laval, Que., won the girls’ tournament at the clay-court Grand Slam last year before rising to the women’s ranks.

“I’m actually pretty pleased with myself with the win today,” said Fernandez.

“I’ve been having some success in the past few years here in Paris and I was just trying to use that energy and that positive vibe that I feel over here and push through in the second and the third set.”

It marks the second straight Grand Slam in which Fernandez has won her opening-round match. The world No. 100 lost to top American Sofia Kenin in the second round of the U.S. Open.

The Canadian teenager says she stayed confident despite dropping the first set so easily.

“I’ve always believed that I can win the match. Even though I was losing 1-4, 1-5 in the first set, I always thought like I can come back and win the first set,” said Fernandez. “But Magda, she played a great first set, a great match, and I guess when I came back in the second set right from the start I knew I can still turn it around and with that mindset that I had it helped a lot.”

Fernandez will face world No. 47 Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the second round of the French Open.

Both of Canada’s entrants in the women’s singles draw have reached the second round.

Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., who received a wild-card into the event, beat Anna Kalinskaya of Russia on Sunday and will face Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the second round.

Meanwhile, Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Toronto’s Steven Diez both are out of the men’s competition after suffering first-round losses on Monday.

Auger-Aliassime, the No. 19 seed, lost 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 to world No. 52 Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.

Diez, a qualifier, lost 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 against American Mackenzie McDonald in his main-draw debut at a Grand Slam.

The loss for Auger-Aliassime continued a disappointing clay-court season for the 20-year-old Canadian. Since transitioning to the clay after a run to the fourth-round at the U.S. Open, Auger-Aliassime has won just one of four matches.

Auger-Aliassime had 58 unforced errors, 24 more than Nishioka.

Nishioka is now 2-0 lifetime against Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian lost a third-set tiebreaker to Nishioka in Indian Wells, Calif., last year.

“Today was tough for me overall, what he was bringing in the match,” Auger-Aliassime said after his French Open debut. ”I knew him, knew it was going to be tough to go through him, (he was) going to put a lot of balls back. Obviously the conditions were not the best for me. … He played good.

“Also, you know, I wasn’t good, and I could have been better on many of those opportunities. So, you know, I give him credit and I take responsibility on that because I just felt like there is too many times where I just didn’t step up and play a decent point.”

Auger-Aliassime added the result was “difficult to accept.”

No. 9 seed Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil are scheduled to play their first-round matches on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Tennis

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees were back on the job Tuesday after a province-wide wildcat strike on Monday. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital workers back on the job

Red Deer hospital was one of 45 sites with picket lines

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre could be affected by cuts to Alberta Health Services announced by the government Tuesday. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
David Marsden: Yes, we know how to do laundry

Union leaders would have us believe there’s something special about their members:… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 2019, file photo, members of South Korean K-pop group TWICE pose for photos on the red carpet at the Seoul Music Awards at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. TWICE, a popular K-pop group known for its catchy lyrics and colorful aesthetics, released its second full album, a collection that invites listeners into the band’s more daring side. “Eyes Wide Open,” released Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, has 13 songs, including the lead single “I Can’t Stop Me.” (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)
K-pop band TWICE reveals its daring side on new album

Half a decade of experience under their belt

In this video grab issued Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020, by MTV, The Weeknd performs “Blinding Lights” during the MTV Video Music Awards. (MTV via AP)
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill (22) tips a pass in the end zone intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney (11) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. The ball was caught by Rams safety Taylor Rapp, behind, for a touchback. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis )
Rams dominate matchup of tough defences, beat Bears 24-10

Rams dominate matchup of tough defences, beat Bears 24-10

Matthew Raymond, charged with four counts of first degree murder, is taken from provincial court in Fredericton, N.B., on December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Mother of Fredericton shooter says she often advised him to see a doctor for help

Mother of Fredericton shooter says she often advised him to see a doctor for help

Most Read