(September 7, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – A pair of young Canadians are taking the US Open by storm. Nineteen-year-old Leylah Fernandez and 21-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime each moved into their first major semifinal of their young careers on the tennis tour.
Fernandez won an intense battle over No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The victory followed consecutive victories over former No. 1s and former US Open winners. – Naomi Osaka in the third round and Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.
Fernandez said that she believes in self-motivation.“I was only thinking of trusting myself, trusting my game. After every point, win or lose, I would always tell myself, ‘Trust my game. Go for my shots. Just see where the ball goes,’” said Fernandez. “I see what I’m feeling. I see if there’s one phrase that really catches me or that makes me more motivated than the others. I just keep it throughout the match.”
“Today’s match was definitely one of the hardest, not only tennis-wise but also mentally and emotionally,” she said to media. “Svitolina is a great player, great fighter. I was glad I was able to fight in the first set. In the second set she upped her level and I unfortunately made a few mistakes on key moments. I’m glad I was able to recuperate for the third set. The tiebreaker, too. A little bit lucky at 5-All, but I’ll take all the luck I can get. I was glad I was able to push through the finish line.”
Fernandez’s countryman Auger Aliassime moved into the semifinals 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, retired down 6-3, 3-1 after a visit from the trainer.
“Well, the first thing is congratulating Carlos for his fantastic tournament,” said the winner. “ I also wish him the best. I feel sorry for him. I was expecting a tough battle, the best from him of course.
“I didn’t see it coming. It’s unfortunate to finish like this. At the same time what he’s done has never been done here in the Open Era. I think he can be very proud of himself, very positive heading back with a head high.
“Myself, the tournament keeps going for me. I’m happy to be through to the semifinals to give myself a shot to play for a Grand Slam final.”
The No. 12 seed is happy for his countrywoman Fernandez: “It’s great for Canada. It’s great for Quebec. We’re both born in Montreal. I mean, I never thought a day like this would come. Both a little girl and a little boy from Montreal, both at the same time in the semifinals of the US Open. It’s special. It’s special. It’s special for us. I hope the people back home appreciate the moment also. We do a lot.
“It’s great. But it would be amazing if we were both in a final, right?”
The Canadian is the first man born in the 2000s to reach a major semifinal.
“The right adductor is the principal problem for me, “Alcaraz said was the main reason for his retirement from the match, he told media in his news conference.
“Well, it’s really tough to end a great tournament like this. I mean, I had no choice to still playing. I mean, first of all I have to take care of my body, yeah, to still healthy, no? It a long match and, yeah, I didn’t feel good to still playing, so I had to retire.”
Fernandez will play No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus for a place in the finals.
Sabalenka beat French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-1, 6-4 to open the night session.
Despite the victory, Belarusian was not happy with her play.
“I feel like I didn’t move well today and I needed extra balls kind of a little bit to move, a little bit to feel my legs, to feel the move, to feel the court. Also my serve was really I wouldn’t say terrible but was really bad today. I was trying to find the rhythm.”
Where I am? I’m in the semifinal of US Open, this I know, Sabalenka said to media among roars of laugher.
“Yeah, second semifinal, and hopefully I can keep it up. That’s amazing. I’m really proud of myself and I’m really proud of my team that they always working, they always trying to find things where I can improve. This is what I am mostly proud of.
“So, yeah, I’m here in the semifinal and I have another chance to show my best and to show my level on the court.”
Auger-Aliassime will play No. 2 Daniil Medvedev next for a spot in the finals. The 25-year-old Medvedev from Russia is into the US Open semifinals for a third straight year.
He ended the run of Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 in day session.
“First of all, really happy to be in the semis again, third time in a row,” noted Medvedev. “Well, couldn’t dream of it maybe four years ago, but now it’s three.
“Yeah, about the match, tough match. First two sets were kind of under control. He was missing some balls, some important points. So was feeling easy, I should say.
“Then third and fourth set was really tough. He played top level, served really big. Was breaking the rhythm a little bit, so was really tough set. I’m really happy that in the fourth I managed to, first of all, hold my serve really easily and managed to break him in the end where I had few opportunities to do before also.”
More to follow….