Canadian tennis star Leylah Fernandez kicked off her 2022 season with a win on Monday, defeating Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 6-4 in first-round action at the Adelaide International in Australia.
Fernandez converted 86 per cent of her first-serve points and had four aces in the victory. The 19-year old from Laval, Que., did not face breakpoint, and broke Alexandrova twice on eight chances.
Fernandez, the world No. 24, will next face the winner of a match between fifth seed Iga Swiatek of Poland and Australia’s Daria Saville at the WTA 500 event as she prepares for the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam tournament of the year starts Jan. 17 in Melbourne.
The rising Canadian star is coming off a breakout 2021 season that saw her win her first WTA title in Monterrey, Mexico, and advance to the final of the U.S. Open en route to winning the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as Canadian Press female athlete of the year.
In 2021, Leylah Fernandez displayed a champion’s poise after a memorable run to the US Open tennis final last summer, a performance that showed she had truly arrived on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
Mere moments after coming up just short of a Grand Slam title, the Canadian teenager delivered a speech that brought the house down at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Her eloquence wowed the New York crowd that day, just like the quality of her play over the preceding fortnight.
Fernandez’s upset-laden blitz through the women’s draw was one of the highlights in a breakout season for the Montreal native. She also earned her first career WTA Tour title in 2021 and surged up the world rankings to crack the top 25.
Elsewhere, Spain, Poland and Argentina remained perfect at the ATP Cup in Sydney with 3-0 wins in their matches Monday, their second consecutive victories in the team event.
Robert Bautista Agut clinched the match for Spain by beating Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 7-6 (4) after Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3.
With files to the Canadian Press.