Leylah Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot to Shelby Rogers at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Indian Wells, Calif. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark J. Terrill

Leylah Fernandez, of Canada, returns a shot to Shelby Rogers at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, in Indian Wells, Calif. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark J. Terrill

Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez a winner in her opening match of 2022

Fernandez won her first WTA title in 2021

ADELAIDE, Australia — Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez kicked off her 2022 season with a win on Monday, defeating Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4 in first-round action at the Adelaide International.

Fernandez converted 86 per cent of her first-serve points and had four aces in the victory. The 19-year old from Laval, Que., did not face break point, and broke Alexandrova twice on eight chances.

Fernandez, the world No. 24, will next face the winner of a match between fifth seed Iga Swiatek of Poland and Australia’s Daria Saville at the WTA 500 event as she prepares for the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam tournament of the year starts Jan. 17 in Melbourne.

The rising Canadian star is coming off a breakout 2021 season that saw her win her first WTA title in Monterrey, Mexico, and advance to the final of the U.S. Open en route to winning the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canadian Press female Athlete of the Year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 3, 2021.

Tennis