17 year old Leylah Fernandez who gave Canada hope in Fed Cup stars in Acapulco

Leylah Fernandez only turned 17 just under six months ago.

The Canadian’s 2020 season kicked off in Auckland with a 5-7 6-7 defeat to Paula Badosa in qualifying. The teenager followed it up with three wins in Melbourne to come through qualifying winning all three matches in straight sets but against players ranked higher than her.

Leylah’s opponent in round one was Lauren Davis and she lost 4-6 2-6 to the American.

For the second time in her career she was called up to the Fed Cup side for Canada in their play-off against Switzerland before a ball was hit it turned slightly disastrous for the away side.

Bianca Andreescu was nominated but doubts over her fitness were immediately raised when she was included in the singles draw and never even played a match. Eugenie Bouchard had to pull out of her match hours before with a wrist injury and never played all weekend as a result of this.

Leylah was thrown into the match against Jil Teichmann and gave a very good account of herself as she lost 6-7 4-6.

Going into Day 2 it on the Swiss racket and on the racket of the Swiss Miss, Belinda Bencic.

The teenager had different ideas as she put on a stunning show against the Top 10 ranked Belinda Bencic to win 7-6 6-2 and gave Canada a lifeline but it wasn’t enough to prolong the tie to the doubles.

It has been a bit quiet since than for Leylah on the tour.

The teenager received a wildcard for qualifying in Acapulco and has delivered out in Mexico this week! Leylah came into Acapulco qualifying ranked at 191.

R1 Qualifying – 6-3 6-1 v Lizette Cabrera (ranked 123)
R2 Qualifying – 6-3 6-3 v Varvara Lepchenko (ranked 172 and former top 20)

R1 – 6-4 6-1 v Nina Stojanovic (ranked 81)
R2 – 6-3 6-0 v Nao Hibino (ranked 69)
QF – 6-3 7-5 v Anastasia Potapova (ranked 97)

SF – 6-3 6-3 v Renata Zarazua (ranked 270)

It has been quite the run for Leylah, it will see her debut in the top 150 in the world on Monday. The transition she has shown from playing a majority of her tennis on the ITF Circuit to her performances in Melbourne, Fed Cup and here in Acapulco is very exciting for Canadian Tennis!

On Saturday night in Acapulco the teenager became the youngest finalist in the tournaments history and gave an incredible account for herself against British number two Heather Watson.

Leylah fell down an early break but continued to plug away at the Brit really using that lefty forehand to try and push the Brit back and snap the ball with her backhand. 

Even down a double break early on she fought hard, and a set and a break down she made Watson work for it. I liked the way she reset point after point. There was no hangover from winning or losing points it was straight to the next one. Similar in a way to how Sharapova used to move on.

Leylah did a fantastic job saving nine match points but sadly fell away in the third set as Watson lifted her fourth title.

A big future is tipped for the teenager and she will be certainly one to watch this year and I expect a few wildcards to be coming the way of the junior Roland Garros champion.

Screenshot 2020-03-01 at 18.15.23

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