Former world No. 3 Milos Raonic has been impressed with rising Canadian star Leylah Fernandez's run at the US Open. Fernandez, ranked at No. 73 in the world, stunned Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Elina Svitolina en route to making her maiden Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open.
"It’s been incredible. It’s not just a magical run to play her first semifinal, it’s also the quality of player she’s been beating, the way she’s been beating them. There’s a lot of grit behind it," Raonic said of Fernandez's run, per Mark Masters.
Raonic is particularly impressed with Fernandez's ability to absorb the power from her opponents. "It feels like a lot of the girls she’s played against are almost shell-shocked by it," Raonic noted.
"You see them getting annoyed like, ‘How did she redirect that forehand?'"
Raonic sees no fear in Fernandez
"It’s fearless ... This has been, at this stage, a very pleasant surprise to her, but also that surprise has been backed up with that hunger for more," Raonic said.
Fernandez, 19, made the US Open semifinal in her debut at the tournament. Fernandez loves the big stage and it is showing. "I honestly don't know. From a very young age I think it's something from inside of me because from a very young age I've always wanted to be on the first court playing in front of parents.
Even though they're not watching, I wanted to be in the first court," Fernandez explained. "Even in school, apart from presentations in front of the class that I hated, but when I had to, like, do a mini play, sing, dance, I would go out there, have fun.
I would enjoy it a lot. "Over the years I've been learning how to use the crowd's energy, how to use it to my advantage even though they're cheering against me, to use it and (indiscernible) on the court."