Filipino-Ecuadorian Leylah Annie Fernandez emerged victorious at the French Open Junior Girls Championship in Paris, France.
The 16-year-old tennis player of Filipino descent playing for Canada brought down her opponents one after the other in the tournament held at the Roland Garros clay courts.
With her victory on June 8, the Filipino-Ecuadorian tennis champion became the first player from Canada to bag a Grand Slam Juniors title since Felix Auger-Aliassime won his in the 2016 US Open. She is also the first Canadian female to win a title since Eugenie Bouchard won her title at the 2012 Wimbledon.
Here are the 6 straight matches that Fernandez played without surrendering a single set:
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Mariia Tkacheva, Russia: 7-5, 6-3
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Marta Custic, Spain: 6-0, 6-3
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Sohyun Park, Korea: 6-2, 6-0
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Elsa Jacquemot, France: 6-0, 6-0
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Maria Osorio Serrano, Colombia: 6-2, 6-4
- Leylah Annie Fernandez vs. Emma Navarro, USA: 6-3, 6-2
Fernandez’ win against Maria Osorio Serrano in the semifinal was a vindication to her loss in the US Open Juniors quarterfinals in 2018 where the Filipino champion surrendered to the Colombian.
Fernandez did not just win the French Open Junior Girls Championship – she also won the audience’s attention with her competitive spirit.
“Early on a lot of people said she was too small to play clay. She didn’t have big legs. Didn’t have a big back. The good news is we didn’t listen to it and I encouraged her to not give up on her dream. She always wanted to win the French Open,” Fernandez’ Ecuadorian father and full-time coach, Jorge shared in media interviews.
Leylah Annie Fernandez said it has been her dream to play and win at Garros since she was 5 years old after she saw Justine Henin and Rafael Nadal in the 2007 French Open on television.
“I’d like to win all the tournaments, all the Grand Slams, all the tournaments in the world. But Roland-Garros is very special for me because it was the first Grand Slam I watched on TV. So being able to win here as a junior player is very special for me,” said Fernandez in a Roland-Garros report.
The teenage tennis player who speaks English, Spanish and French says she is proud of her mixed roots and heritage.
“I’m a bit of a mix. I was born in Montreal. I’m Canadian. My father is from Ecuador and my mother is from Toronto but her parents are Filipinos. I’m happy to be Ecuadorian and Filipino,” Leylah Annie Fernandez declared.
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