Leylah Fernandez absent from the National Bank Open tennis tournament


Canada’s Leylah Fernandez was eliminated from the National Bank Open after a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia on Wednesday.

Fernandez, the 13th seed in Toronto, was playing her first tournament after a two-month layoff to recover from a stress fracture in her right foot she suffered at Roland Garros.

While Fernandez showed plenty of combat in the opening set, she eventually seemed to hold off the powerful attack from her increasingly confident opponent.

After an encouraging start, Fernandez gave up the first break of the match to lose 3-2 in the first set.

Leading 5-4, Haddad Maia converted his fourth ace of the match to give him set point. But Fernandez saved to make it two and then converted his first break point to level the set.

Haddad Maia restored their lead in the following match, eventually converting their fourth break point chance of the match to move up 6-5.

But again, the Brazilian couldn’t put away the set. A double fault from Haddad Maia created a double break point for Fernandez, and the Canadian emerged victorious after a long rally to claim the next point and force a tiebreaker.

Haddad Maia proved too much for Fernandez in the extra session, using power shots to throw the Canadian off balance and take a 6-3 lead in the tiebreaker.

Fernandez saved another set point before Haddad Maia clinched it with a powerful backhand to end a short rally.

Haddad Maia capitalized on that momentum in the second set, converting an early break en route into a 3-0 lead.

Her second break of the set gave Haddad Maia a 5-1 lead and then she served like in the final game to win the match.

Haddad Maia next faces world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who advanced to the third round with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic.

Swiatek increased his hard court winning streak to 20 games with a clinical performance, beating Tomljanovic in just one hour four minutes.

“The Polish star converted six of his nine break point chances by hitting 26 of 37 return points (70.3%).

In other early results, 10th seed Coco Gauff of the United States defeated Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(3). Defending champion Camila Giorgi of Italy beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-5. And the seventh seed, Jessica Pegula, beat fellow American Asia Muhammad 6-2, 7-5.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., the last remaining Canadian in the singles draw, was scheduled to face Alize Cornet of France in the final match on center court. Andreescu won the tournament in 2019 when Serena Williams retired in the final match.

Williams was due to face Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic to kick off the evening center court session. Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slams, is playing one last time in Toronto before retiring after the US Open.

– This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2022.

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