Leylah Fernandez is one step closer to the first title defense of her career and seems to finally be finding a rhythm. Fernandez, who had won two games and lost two in the young season, beat another 19-year-old, Zheng Qinwen, to reach the quarterfinals of the Monterrey Open. That means she’s three wins away from her second Monterrey Open title.
She will face either Mayar Sherif or Wang Qiang on Friday.
The Abierto GNP Seguros has, so far, been Fernandez’s favorite tournament. The tennis star, who this year became the newest Lululemon ambassador, won her first title there last year, and she’s won 9 of her last ten matches at the tournament, going back to 2020. But her last match was anything but easy, requiring Fernandez to raise her game and win her first tiebreaker of the season.
“It was definitely a great match,” Fernandez, who won a string of very big three set matches last year, as she advanced to the US Open Final, shared during her on-court interview “Hopefully, we’ll have many more great battles like this one. I just fought for every point, stayed in it, stayed positive as much as I could, and waited for my moments. Thank goodness, everything went good in the tiebreak.”
Fernandez isn’t the only former winner in the draw – 2020 winner Elina Svitolina and 2016 winner Heather Watson are both still playing – and a title defense is always a singular challenge for an athlete, particularly one so young. But Fernandez seems to have a little bit of the swagger she picked up after her unlikely 2021 US Open run, and she’s clearly having fun at Monterrey. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
Well, that and good tennis, but Leylah Fernandez has that in spades.