19-Year-Old Leylah Fernandez Is Captivating U.S. Open Watchers
Updated September 8, 2021 at 11:51 AM ET
Nineteen-year-old Leylah Fernandez of Canada is in the spotlight at the U.S. Open in New York.
She's headed to Thursday's semifinals after beating yet another star player, Elina Svitolina, after besting Grand Slam champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.
Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, is the youngest woman to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since Maria Sharapova in 2005.
A U.S. Open recap described Fernandez as having "a veteran-like ability to reset at the crucial moments."
Fernandez, the daughter of an Ecuadorian father and Filipino-Canadian mother, told ESPN she credits her dad for inspiration. He's been coaching her since she was 6 years old.
"Today he told me to go out there, have fun, fight for every ball, fight for every point," she said. " 'Today's your first quarterfinals, don't make it your last. Don't make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.' "
She's already beat two former U.S. Open champions, and will face off against a third on Thursday, Aryna Sabalenka. (Sabalenka won in women's doubles in 2019.)
Watch highlights from her quarterfinal match here:
Folks are taking notice:
That’s how you FIGHT!!!!!!!!!! Go on Leylah!!!!!!! @leylahfernandez https://t.co/cvr2GCzaGn— sloanestephens (@SloaneStephens) September 7, 2021
WOW! Thank you @JustinTrudeau , proud to represent our country. It is an honor. 🇨🇦🍁 https://t.co/mD596QnBBR— leylahfernandez (@leylahfernandez) September 8, 2021
If you haven’t seen the most exciting player at the US Open, 19-year old Leylah Fernandez, you’re truly missing out!! She just beat her 3rd ranked opponent and is on fire 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥. She’s captivating the world! @leylahfernandez— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 7, 2021
This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.
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