When Emma Raducanu walks out onto court in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, there will be just one thing standing between her and US Open 2021 glory - opponent Leylah Fernandez.
Fellow teen Fernandez is no stranger to Raducanu, with the two rising stars of women’s tennis having played against each other on the junior circuit and had multiple practice hits.
The two have already written a new chapter in the game’s history books by reaching the final and becoming the first all teen Grand Slam final since Serena Williams vs Martina Hingis in 1999.
British tennis ace Raducanu has excelled on her way to the US Open final, beating 17th seed Maria Sakkari, Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and home crowd favourite Shelby Rogers.
Here’s how her US Open 2021 women’s final opponent has performed at Flushing Meadows, her WTA ranking and a look at her career so far ahead of Saturday’s showdown in New York.
Who is Leylah Fernandez?
Leylah Fernandez was born on 6 September 2002, in Montreal, Canada.
She grew up in Florida, USA, after her father Jorge, a former football player, moved the family to help foster the tennis development of his two young daughters.
Leylah has a younger sister Bianca, who is also a tennis player.
Jorge was born in Ecuador but moved to Canada when he was aged four while the mother of Leylah and Bianca, Irene, is a Canadian citizen of Filipino descent.
Leylah first caught the attention of the tennis world when she made it through to the Australian Open girls’ singles final in 2019, losing out to top see Clara Tauson.
But better was to come for Leylah at the French Open girls’ singles when she became the first Canadian female winner of a junior Grand Slam since Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon 2012.
What is Leylah Fernandez’s WTA ranking?
Leylah Fernandez won her first professional singles tennis title in July 2019 when she overcame fellow Canadian Carson Branstine to win the Gatineau Challenger.
She won her first professional doubles title on the same date when she teamed with Rebecca Marino of Vancouver to defeat Marcela Zacarías of Mexico and Hsu Chieh-yu of Taiwan.
Fernandez made it through qualifying for the 2020 Australian Open but lost in the first round to Lauren Davis, reaching the first round a year later at the same tournament.
She claimed a big scalp at the Billie Jean King Cup 2020 against No. 5 in the world Belinda Bencic and won her first WTA title at the Monterrey Open in March 2021.
In July 2021, she achieved a career high WTA ranking of 66. Fernandez is currently ranked 73.
Leylah Fernandez - route to US Open 2021 final
Much like her US Open 2021 women’s final opponent, Leylah Fernandez has enjoyed an incredible run to the Flushing Meadows showdown in New York.
Fernandez has seen off former US Open champion and third seed Naomi Osaka in the third round - one of three top 10 seeded players the Canadian has beaten on route to the final.
- First round - Leylah Fernandez beat Ana Konjuh of Croatia, 7-6 6-2
- Second round - Leylah Fernandez beat Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, 7-5 7-5
- Third round - Leylah Fernandez beat Naomi Osaka (3) of Japan, 5-7 7-6 6-4
- Round of 16 - Leylah Fernandez beat Angelique Kerber (16) of Germany, 4-6 7-6 6-2
- Quarter finals - Leylah Fernandez beat Elina Svitolina (5) of Ukraine, 6-3 3-6 7-6
- Semi finals - Leylah Fernandez beat Aryna Sabalenka (2) of Belarus, 7-6 4-6 6-4
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