Tagged in: Gael Monfils

Leylah Fernandez, one day after turning 19, tops Elina Svitolina, advances to US Open semifinals

With no players from the United States left to pull for in the US Open, the fans are adopting a neighbor from the North to treat as one of their own: Leylah Fernandez, an unseeded Canadian teenager with an exciting game and enthusiasm to match.

A day after turning 19, Fernandez reached her first Grand Slam semifinal — and became the youngest player to get that far in the women’s bracket at Flushing Meadows since Maria Sharapova in 2005 — by adding a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) triumph versus No. 5 Elina Svitolina on Tuesday to earlier wins over past US Open champions Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.

“I obviously have no idea what I’m feeling right now,” said Fernandez, a left-hander with quick baseline reflexes who is ranked 73rd and participating in only the seventh major tournament of her nascent career. “I was so nervous. I was trying to do what my coach told me to do.”

That coach is her father, who isn’t in New York; he stayed home and is offering tips in daily phone conversations. That helps, certainly, as does the loud backing she has been receiving from the spectators, who rose and cheered wildly each time Fernandez raised a fist high above her head or wind-milled both arms after winning a key point in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Get all the latest Betting and Sport News updates on your social media outlets.

“Thanks to you, I was able to push through today,” she told the crowd after edging Svitolina, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist whose two Grand Slam semifinal runs include the 2019 US Open.

Not requiring any encouragement to get out of his seat was Fernandez’s fitness coach, who would leap and shout, pointing fingers or waving clenched fists.

Svitolina’s husband, two-time major semifinalist Gael Monfils, offered similar support from Ashe’s other guest box.

It was touch-and-go down the stretch — even after Fernandez grabbed the opening set, and even after she led 5-2 in the third. One way in which she held a clear advantage: Of points that lasted more than eight shots, Fernandez won 26, Svitolina 16.

Five times, Fernandez was two points from winning but failed to collect the next point. Finally, at 5-all in the tiebreaker, she moved to match point when she smacked a down-the-line passing shot that got past Svitolina with the help of a bounce off the net tape.

Fernandez put up both palms, as if to say, “Sorry about that bit of luck,” while Svitolina put a hand to her mouth in dismay.

Svitolina’s backhand contributed to her undoing late, and when a return from that side landed long, it was over. Fernandez dropped to her knees at the baseline and covered her face; Svitolina walked around the net to approach Fernandez for a hug.

Next on this magical ride for Fernandez will come yet another test versus a player who is ranked higher and has more experience on the sport’s biggest stages: Aryna Sabalenka.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, matched her best result in a Grand Slam tournament by reaching the semifinals via a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who was seeded No. 8. Sabalenka acknowledged having confidence problems in the biggest tournaments earlier in her career, saying she has worked with a psychologist to deal with those fears.

It seems to be working, as Sabalenka made her initial Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon and will try to go a step further in New York.

Check WagerWeb and find the best online betting site.

Monfils claims third Open Sud de France title

Gaël Monfils defeated Vasek Pospisil 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday to win the Open Sud de France title for a third time, equaling French countryman Richard Gasquet’s tournament record.

The ninth-ranked Monfils saved all four break points he faced in winning his first title of the season and ninth of his career.

“Hopefully I can have some more success,” said Monfils, who has won three of his four finals in the southern French city of Montpellier. “I am very pleased about my performance today. I think I played very solid again and I was very happy with the way I handled the key moments.”

Monfils improved to 6-0 in career matches versus Pospisil, ranked No. 132 and still searching for his first career title. He has lost both finals in his career. Monfils became the eighth French champion in 10 editions of the ATP 250 event and the world No. 9 will head to Rotterdam to defend his title next week full of confidence.

Get all the latest Betting and Sport News updates on your social media outlets.

The 33-year-old defeated Daniil Medvedev and Stan Wawrinka in back-to-back matches to lift the trophy last year.

It was a disappointing day for 29-year-old Pospisil, who was looking to capture a first ATP title in his second final, having returned to form following back surgery in January 2019.

The 29-year-old Canadian, blighted by injuries since he reached a career-high ranking of 25th in 2014, is hopeful that his best form is coming back.

“It was an incredible week. I had great wins and I feel like I am definitely improving week by week,” Pospisil said. “I will try to rest now, take a couple of days easy and get ready for the next event.” Monfils earns 250 FedEx ATP Ranking points and €89,435 for lifting the trophy. Pospisil collects 150 ATP Ranking points and €47,105.

Check WagerWeb and find the best online betting site.