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Leylah Fernandez Advances to the U.S. Open Final

  • September 10, 2021

Leylah Fernandez, the Canadian teen sensation, cruised into the finals of the U.S. Open Thursday night, knocking off Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus with an upset that might have been surprising had she not been doing this for the better part of a week.

With Steve Nash, the N.B.A. Hall of Famer and Nets coach watching from her box, and all of Canada and seemingly all of New York in her corner, Fernandez, ranked 73rd, notched her fourth consecutive win over one of the world’s top-20 players. Her stunning run has included victories over the second, third, fifth and 16th seeded players in the tournament. She beat Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber, the winners of a combined seven Grand Slam singles titles, then knocked off Elina Svitolina, who is considered one of the best players never to have won a Grand Slam tournament.

Then came Sabalenka, one of the world’s biggest hitters and its second-ranked player. At 23, she appeared poised this year to take the next step in her development. She has never made a Grand Slam final but lost in the semifinals at Wimbledon and backed that up with another trip to the final four at the U.S. Open.

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