Filipino-Canadian Leylah Fernandez delivered another breathtaking performance, reaching the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time, while runner-up Daniil Medvedev of Russia reached his third US Open semi-final on Tuesday.
Number 73 in the world rankings Fernandez, who had already ousted defending champion Naomi Osaka and three-time slam winner Angelique Kerber, defeated the fifth-seeded Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6: 3, 3: 6, 7: 6 (7/5).
“To be honest, I have no idea what I’m feeling right now,” said Fernandez shortly after the win. “I told myself to trust my shots. Even if I lose, I have to try. And I’m glad I did. “
Fernandez was inspired by the pre-game strategy of her father / coach Jorge, a former Ecuadorian soccer player.
“My dad told me so many things, but today he told me to go out and have fun, fight for every point,” she said.
“It’s your first Grand Slam quarter-final. Don’t make it your last Don’t make it your last game here. Fight for your dream.”
Medvedev, who was chasing his first Grand Slam title, eliminated 117th Dutch qualifier Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Semis again,” said Medvedev. “I just want to be a little better than the last two times and get that extra step, which is actually the most difficult.”
The 25-year-old Muscovite finished second at the 2019 US Open and at this year’s Australian Open, where he lost to top-placed Novak Djokovic, who is trying to complete the first men’s singles Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 by winning his fourth US Open.
Medvedev postponed a win from a possible championship game against Djokovic.
“I don’t think about him because, as we’ve seen, anyone can beat anyone,” said Medvedev. “If he’s in the final and I’m there, I’ll be happy. He’s happy too, I think. “
Medvedev is certain that he will be the first slam semi-finalist to play for a place in the final, next he will meet the winner between the 55th Spanish 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz and the 21-year-old Canadian who is ranked 12th , Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“I think playing against Felix or Carlos is great for tennis,” said Medvedev. “It is wonderful.”
Medvedev won his only duel with Auger-Aliassime in Canada in 2018 and his only match against Alcaraz in the second round of that year at Wimbledon.
Van de Zandschulp hoped to become the first qualifier to reach the US Open semifinals and only the sixth to do so at a Grand Slam event.
But Medvedev dominated the first two sets before the Dutchman started a race to catch up, breaking 4-2 and holding twice to win the third set which the Russian lost the first in the Open.
“He missed the first two sentences. I controlled the game, ”said Medvedev. “In the third set he began to miss less.”
Medvedev took the only break in the last set at match point when the Dutchman ended things after two hours and 23 minutes with a forehand drop volley.
“He served incredibly in the fourth,” said Van de Zandschulp. “He’s the guy who deserves to win.”
Fernandez shocked again
Left-hander Fernandez, who turned 19 on Monday, snatched the winning streak of the third-place Olympic in Tokyo in nine games with a clutch shot while the spectators roared with joy.
“I was so nervous the whole game. I tried to do what my coach told me, ”Fernandez told the audience. “Thanks to you, I was able to assert myself.”
She had 42 winners, 10 more than Svitolina, for 31 easy mistakes.
Fernandez broke Svitolina with a 4-2 lead in the first set with a backhand winner and held twice to win the set in 38 minutes. The first sentence that Svitolina gave up at the Open.
Svitolina broke twice in the second set, leading 5-1, but Fernandez broke in the seventh game and forced three breakpoints in the final game before an ace Svitolina dictated a third set.
Fernandez and Svitolina exchanged four breaks on the way to the tie-break, in which the teenager never lagged behind and progressed with a service winner after two hours and 24 minutes.
Fernandez booked a semi-final match with either the second seeded Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus or the Czech eighth seeded Barbora Krejcikova, each aiming for a WTA best 43rd match win of the year.
SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP