By Richard Kent, Staff Reporter
NEW YORK — It was only fitting that it was decided by a third set tiebreaker. So little separated the players during the match, played before a near sellout crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The undisputed darling of this US Open, Leylah Fernandez of Canada upset 5th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine,6-3, 3-6, 7-6. It was the first set which the unseeded Fernandez has lost in this Open.
The foes had played once before, in the 2020 Monterrey Open with Svitolina winning 6-4, 7-5. It would be a different result with the vast majority of the crowd rooting for the underdog.
Fernandez converted on 75% of her first serves and continued her tournament strategy, authored by her coach who is also her father, of aggressive service returns, which have thrown off her opponents. She also came into net very judiciously, winning the vast majority of her net points.
She became the youngest semi-finalist at the Open since Maria Sharapova, a 2006 Open winner.
Fernandez was unseeded entering the event, ranked no. 66 in the world.
With the win, Fernandez became the first player to move into the semis, to be played on Thursday night. She will play 2nd-seeded Arnya Sabalenka, who defeated 8th-seeded Barbora Krejcikova 6-1, 6-4 in another quarterfinal match on Tuesday.