Tennis world, watch out! Two young Quebec players are steamrolling over their world-class competition at this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing, New York.
As a result, Leylah Annie Fernandez, 19, from Laval and Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21, from Montreal have practically come from out of nowhere to each earn their respective berths in the women’s and men’s singles semi-finals, which takes place on September 9.
Fernandez earned her berth by defeating #5 seed Elina Svitolina in a third set tiebreaker in her quarter-finals match by scores of 6-3, 3-6 and 7-6 (5); she will face #2 seed Aryna Sabalenka from Belorus. Auger-Aliassime won over his quarter-final opponent Carlos Alcarez when he retired from the match due to an injury; he will Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals.
According to the Morning Coffee report on TSN.com, both Fernandez and Auger-Aliassime have reach some significant personal milestones thanks to their progress on the court that have stunned and amazed fans from around the globe. Fernandez became the youngest woman to reach the U.S. Open semi-finals since Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova accomplished that feat in 2005 at the age of 18. As well, she has become the third Canadian women to reach the semi-finals during the Open Era, sharing the honours with Carling Bassett-Seguso in 1984 and Bianca Andreescu in 2019. And Auger-Aliassime became the first Canadian man to make it to the semi-finals in U.S. Open singles competition.
And Fernandez’s amazing ascent during the tournament has caught not only the attention of the tennis world, but also the sporting world in general. NBA legend Earvin Magic Johnson recently tweeted that “If you haven’t seen the most exciting player at the US Open, 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez, you’re truly missing out!! … She’s captivating the world!”
Fernandez is also charming spectators with her modesty, graciousness and sense of humour. During an on-court interview following her quarter-final victory, she was asked what was the secret to the success of her fellow Canadian tennis players at the U.S. Open. She answered in a matter-of-fact manner “the maple syrup”.