Call her ‘Clay-lah’: Leylah Fernandez advances to quarters at Roland Garros

PARIS | Leylah Fernandez’s career at Roland-Garros has been talking for a few days now, so much so that some media are beginning to nickname the young Quebecer “Clay-lah”.

• Read also: Roland-Garros: Auger-Aliassime bows to Nadal in an epic duel

This contraction of the English translation of “clay” and her given name “Leylah” suited her perfectly on Sunday, when she qualified for the quarterfinals in Paris for the first time in her young career.

Combative on this surface that often pushes players to their limits, Lavallois, 19, put up another fight in this 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win at the expense of 27th-ranked American Amanda Anisimova. .me Favourite.

“It was a very difficult match, Leylah admitted a little tired at a press conference, after this confrontation of almost 2 hours. But it was an incredible match for both of them.”

As she had done two days before against the Swiss Belinda Bencic (14), Fernández began the confrontation with aggressiveness and speed, outscoring by two breaks.

The beautiful machine, however, has gradually gotten out of control, in particular due to the generosity at the service of the Quebecois. He still managed to pocket the set on his second chance.

Anisimova comes back strong

This forceful ending to the set foreshadowed that the 20-year-old American, a semi-finalist in Paris three years ago, was not done with this match.

And indeed, Anisimova began to walk with Leylah from right to left. He posted no fewer than 18 game winners in that set, leaving Fernandez unanswered.

At least momentarily. Because as in the third round, the young racket came back with a bang in the final round. She broke in game five and never looked back.

“We played at a very high level, he pointed out on 17me favourite, and I am happy that I was able to go through some difficult moments in this match to have an additional opportunity to play for Philippe-Chatrier. [où était disputé le match dimanche midi, heure de France.]»

all winners

In her first appearance in the Roland-Garros quarterfinals among the professionals, the champion of the junior edition of 2019 will cross swords this Tuesday with a left foot like her, the Italian Martina Trevisan.

Leylah has never faced 59me world championship, who at 28 occupies the best position of his career. Trevisan is one of many surprises in this women’s draw, which only has one player in the top 10: No. 1 Polish Iga Swiatek.

Fernandez is also the third highest ranked player still in contention. Between her and Swiatek is American Jessica Pegula, seeded 11th.

The two girls are at the top of the frame and the Quebecois at the bottom. But despite this carnage among the favorites and despite her good course on the Parisian ochre, “Clay-Lah” refuses to see a gap until the final.

“All the players that are at this stage of the tournament are excellent,” he said. I work very hard, but they also have that winning mentality.

Happy to have played against Thierry Henry

PARIS | Large influx of visitors in the stands of Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday, for the round of 16 match between Quebec’s Leylah Fernández and American Amanda Anisimova, at Roland-Garros. Thierry Henry appeared on the giant screen in the middle of the game.

The former French international – and former CF Montreal manager – was also seen applauding, standing, after Lavalloise’s victory.

A huge fan of soccer, Leylah was particularly delighted to see this big name in “football” savoring her performance in this way. She also underlined it during the on-the-spot interview with 2013 Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli of France.

“I am very happy to have played against Thierry Henry!” she smiled at the crowd.

“When I saw that he was there and that he was enjoying the game, I was very happy, because it is one of my goals, that people appreciate my tennis,” he said at a press conference.

“And seeing him give a standing ovation after the game was great,” added the Favourite.

Fernández did not watch the Champions League final, which took place on Saturday night, Paris time, at the Stade de France between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

And he didn’t go lightly: he skipped the meeting because he had to “go to bed early.”

That’s how he learned on Sunday morning that Real Madrid, one of his favorite clubs, had won 1-0.

Nadal was there

Unlike the Quebecer, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal was present for the coronation of the Real, his team. Images of the fifth seed being harassed by fans as he tried to enter the stadium circulated online on Sunday.

As the Champions League final and Roland-Garros are usually played at the same time, and rarely in the same country, “Rafa” had never had the opportunity to see this definitive match in person.

Although he showed up at 9:00 p.m., and the kick-off was delayed 35 minutes for the horde of fans to settle in (which incidentally caused excesses and a hundred arrests), Nadal also said he went to bed quite early.

At least, enough to sign a victory in five days against Félix Auger-Aliassime at the beginning of the evening.

“Given the late hour, I didn’t stay for the festivities,” lamented the winner of 13 Roland-Garros titles.

Add Comment