The Canadian teenager was court opposite to an Olympic champion and a six title career holder, Belinda Bencic. But Fernandez managed to come away with the 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 victory. "It was an incredible fight. I think today I was just trusting my game when it mattered the most..."
Leylah had truthfully said. The tangibles were at times overbearing as the teen packed her bags and participated at Roland Garros. First of all, she had never gone deep into slams other than last year's U.S. Open final when she bowed at the hands of the Brit teen Emma Raducanu.
Most of the opponents she faced in the draw are older and more experienced than herself. It can be at times intimidating but Fernandez admits her recipe for defeating Bencic is that in her own game "..I was able to trust enough for me to keep going and keep executing the game plan."
The opening set was nearly all Fernandez, playing aggressive, finding the wide court to smash winners in unexpected spots. Bencic even go to 5 games, but Leylah had 6 and climbed to a 40-30 lead to win the set point.
After Leylah grabbed the first set, Belinda Bencic soon was alerted to have a time violation imposed, which she didn't appreciate a bit. "Do you think I can be ready in 10 seconds in this huge stadium? Do you want to explain to me why she is playing in 10 seconds?" It was an argument of towel wipe offs to get back into the court.
Leylah kept quiet to stay focused and time was on her side and determination to win the match. The second set Bencic was fiery, corrected her errors by painting the lines, being aggressive and displaying good strategy.
Fernandez left herself vulnerable for the Swiss to capitalize on winning games. Sets were then leveled but at 3-all and then 5-all, Bencic had her chances but Leylah played it tough and with Leylah having a 6-5 lead and up 40-15 was feeling ready to end the match.
Bencic's momentum and timing were disrupted and had another return roll into the net giving Fernandez the match. The crowd screamed for the struggling Canadian teen and it was all over. Leylah Fernandez will have to keep a stiff great stragegy for her next opponent will be Amanda Anisimova who had a generally easier win with her last opponent.
Czech Karolina Muchova fell and injured her ankle. A few games were done but Muchova had to retire the match to Anisimova. Fernandez and Anisimova only played once before at this year's Indian Wells. Leylah won in two sets because of the retirement.
As for a good idea of how Amanda Anisimova will play is short lived because of the retirement but Fernandez has a philosophy of her own and says that probably if things aren't going well on court, "I will just have to find solutions and keep working hard...just putting my head down and just grinding it out..."