Leylah Fernandez US Open semi-finals

The upset queen of the US Open is into a maiden semi-final. Photo: US Open

Teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu aren't done shocking the world, roaring into the US Open semi-finals with upset victories. In the men's draw, Novak Djokovic [1] found his top gear while 21-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime [12] claimed a maiden Grand Slam semi-final appearance.

Teenagers Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu aren’t done shocking the world, roaring into the US Open semi-finals with upset victories. In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic [1] found his top gear while 21-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime [12] claimed a maiden Grand Slam semi-final appearance.

It’s now set up for history to be made, with Djokovic the only Grand Slam winner of the eight remaining singles players at the 2021 US Open.

Canada’s rising star continues to defy odds

Leylah Fernandez has produced a trifecta of epic upsets on her way to the US Open semi-finals. Photo: US Open

Leylah Fernandez had to fight through Naomi Osaka [3] and Angelique Kerber [16] just to play in her quarter-final.

Dissatisfied with those scalps, she pushed through adversity to record an incredible upset victory over fifth seed Elina Svitolina in a three set epic that went the distance.

Fernandez and Svitolina were evenly matched on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but critical points decided the gruelling match that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.

The teenager got off to the better start with a break in the sixth game of an otherwise even opening set. She solidified the break before Svitolina made her next service game count to make it 5-3, and the pressure was on Fernandez to close out the set.

The 19-year-old claimed a set point at 40-30 but faltered in the next opportunity before composing herself and making the most of her following set point to take a 1-0 lead.

The Ukarainian came charging back into the contest in the second set with much more aggressive play, taking it to the Canadian from the baseline with precise hitting and an ultra-effective down-the-line backhand that was challenging the backhand of the left-handed Fernandez.

Svitolina made the most of her breakpoint opportunities to go up 5-1 in the second set, and eventually closed it out 6-3 to force a decider.

Fernandez came back with a second wind, finding another gear to get to balls that seemed out of her reach in the second set. She made the first break of the third set and put herself into a great position at 3-1.

However, both players capitalised on low first serve percentages with further breaks ensuing before Fernandez regained her ascendency go up 5-2.

At this point, Svitolina made her final charge, grabbing the momentum of the match with vital aces before breaking back and evening up the contest at 5-5.

With the final set destined to go the distance into a tiebreaker, Svitolina looked the likelier of the two. She was forcing Fernandez to fight for every point on her serve, with the teenager responding to every challenge and holding on in critical junctures including multiple deuces at 5-5.

Svitolina forced the tiebreak with relative ease on her service game, but then Fernandez surprised her on the third point of the tiebreak to win a mini break.

She converted her service points to lead 4-1, but again the veteran responded to even it up at 4-4.

The crowd hung off every shot, and Fernandez once again found something to produce another memorable moment and take the ascendency at 5-4, before holding her nerve to serve out the match with a ball that swerved away from Svitolina, forcing her to lunge out wide.

The return sailed long, and the sell-out crowd erupted as Fernandez collapsed after nearly two-and-a-half hours on court.

The story of the tournament will next face the favourite Aryna Sabalenka [2], after the Belarusian defeated Barbora Krejčíková in hard fought straight sets.

Leylah Fernandez637[7]
Elina Svitolina [5]366[5]

Britain’s next Great hope

Emma Raducanu is into a US Open semi-final. Photo: US Open

Great Britain’s Emma Raducanu has set up a must-watch semi-final, disposing of Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Belinda Bencic [11] in straight sets.

The 18-year-old is yet to drop a set on her way to the US Open semi-finals, after having to win through qualifying to even play in the main draw. In making the semi-final, she becomes the first qualifier ever to progress this far in the US Open.

It comes after her arrival onto the world stage of tennis at her home Grand Slam Wimbledon, where she won through to the fourth round and wowed on centre court.

Raducanu was all class on the big stage with 23 winners and just 12 unforced errors against Bencic.

It didn’t start out brightly however, with the teenager broken to 15 in her first service game, and having to claw back from a 3-1 deficit in the first set.

From there, she found her groove, with her serve increasing in speed and some aggressive serve and volley play being mixed into tidy groundstrokes from the baseline.

She also took advantage of Bencic’s inability to win free points through her serve, forcing the Swiss gold medallist behind the baseline with hard hitting and setting up a procession of forehand winners.

Raducanu rattled off the final five games of set one, finding her best play when it mattered in deuces on Bencic’s serve to eventually break.

The Brit produced more of the same in the second set, looking unstoppable in every rally as she ran Bencic all over the court.

At 2-2 on Bencic’s serve she made her move, winning the first two receiving points and closing out the game to 15. Her serve didn’t falter when she needed it, and she closed out the straight sets win with age-defying composure.


Raducanu will now face US Open semi-final debutant Maria Sakkari [17]. The Greek number one upset Karolína Plíšková 6-4 6-4 to book her spot on Day 11.

Emma Raducanu66
Belinda Bencic [11]34

FAA continues epic summer of tennis

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked a maiden US Open semi-final. Photo: US Open

Felix Auger-Aliassime [12] again silenced the critics to book a maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open. Often spoken about as a player who would be unable to take the next step and outperform the best in the world, he has backed up a Wimbledon quarter-final appearance with his best Grand Slam result ever – at just 21 years of age.

The Canadian did it easily, with his opponent retiring early in the second set. But that isn’t to say Auger-Aliassime was gifted a place in the semi-finals, with his relative experience and quick hands winning the first set comfortably.

His opponent – teenager Carlos Alcaraz Garfia – looked weary on the big stage after a huge first week to achieve his best finish, and he eventually succumbed to his woes after an uninspiring opening to the second stanza.

Auger-Aliassime will face one of the most in-form players on the planet in Daniil Medvedev [2].

The towering Russian was too classy for Botic van de Zandschulp, winning through in four sets as he looks to go one better than his finals appearance at the Australian Open earlier this season.

On the other side of the draw, Novak Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini in a repeat of the Wimbledon final, while Alexander Zverev continued his strong form in defeating Lloyd Harris to set up a semi-final epic with the world number one.

Felix Auger-Aliassime [12]63
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia31 [ret.]

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