Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Fernandez, 19, edges Svitolina to reach U.S. Open semis

   Teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her stunning run in the U.S. Open today with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) victory over No. 5 seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
   It was the third consecutive three-set victory over a seed for Fernandez. The left-hander, who turned 19 on Monday, ousted No. 3 seed Naomi Osaka, who won her second U.S. Open title last year, in the third round and Angelique Kerber, the 2016 champion, in the round of 16.
   Fernandez became the youngest U.S. Open semifinalist since 18-year-old Maria Sharapova in 2005 and joined Carling Bassett Seguso (1984) and Bianca Andreescu (2019) as the only Canadian women to reach the semis at Flushing Meadows in the Open Era, which began in 1968. Andreescu won the title two years ago at 19.
   Fernandez avenged a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Svitolina in the 2020 Monterrey quarterfinals in their only previous meeting. Svitolina reached the U.S. Open semifinals and San Jose quarterfinals in 2019 and the Stanford semis in 2015.
   Fernandez is scheduled to face No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus for the first time on Thursday. Sabalenka, the San Jose runner-up in 2019, defeated No. 8 seed Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning French Open champion, 6-1, 6-4 to reach her second consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.
   Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the third consecutive year. Medvedev, who lost an epic final to Rafael Nadal two years ago, eliminated qualifier Botic Van De Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5. 
   Medvedev, 25, is set to meet No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, 21, of Canada on Thursday. Auger-Aliassime led Carlos Alcaraz 6-3, 3-1 when the 18-year-old Spaniard retired with an undisclosed injury.
   Alcaraz had played two straight five-set matches, including a 4-hour, 7-minute victory over No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
   Medvedev nipped Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7) in the second round in Montreal in 2018 in their only previous encounter. 
   Men's doubles — No. 4 seeds Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain edged unseeded Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell of Australia 7-6 (7), 6-7 (6), 7-6 (10) in a 2-hour, 58-minute quarterfinal.
   Ram and Salisbury won a third-set tiebreaker for the second consecutive match and reached the U.S. Open semifinals for the second straight year. They are scheduled to play unseeded Steve Johnson of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area and Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native. Both teams are trying to reach their first U.S. Open final.
   Johnson and Querrey, U.S. Open semifinalists in 2015, surprised No. 6 seeds Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-2, 7-6 (5).  
   Mixed doubles Giuliana Olmos, a 28-year-old Austria native who grew up in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area and represents Mexico, and Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador topped Ellen Perez of Australia and Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil 3-6, 6-3 [10-4] in the quarterfinals.
   Boys singles — Top-seeded Shang Juncheng of China defeated wild card Aidan Mayo, a Sacramento-area product, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the second round. Also, No. 15 seed Maks Kasnikowski of Poland edged Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (4). 
   Boys doubles — Wild cards Nicholas Godsick of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Quinn beat Philip Florig and Max Hans Rehberg of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (5) in the opening round.
   Godsick's parents are Mary Joe Fernandez, a former top-five player in singles and doubles who now works as an ESPN commentator, and Tony Godsick, Roger Federer's agent.

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