It was an early start once again for Canadian tennis fans watching round three of the French Open. Two Quebec natives Leylah Annie Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime are still in the running and playing great tennis so far this week on the Parisian clay courts.
First up was 19-year-old Fernandez who took on another veteran on clay today, Belinda Bencic. Bencic is coming off a big win on clay back in April at the Charleston Open, beating out Mutua Madrid Open champion Ons Jabeur in the finals. In the second round of Roland Garros, Bencic was able to secure her spot in this match by beating Canadian and 2019 US Open Champion Bianca Andreescu.
Fernandez has struggled to get back to her full form since winning the 2022 Monterrey Open back in March of this year. However, after sailing past both Kristina Mladenovic and Katerina Siniakova in the previous rounds, it is clear she is back in her game and ready to take on another Grand Slam in France.
Bencic and Fernandez have gone head-to-head representing their respective countries back in 2020 at the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers. Fernandez was able to take the match for the Canadian squad, defeating Bencic of Switzerland 6-2, 7-6(3)
Both Fernandez and Bencic have not made it to the round of 16 at Roland Garros and neither were willing to leave the tournament at this stage.
The first set was a rollercoaster as Fernandez came out with an incredible start winning the first three games with ease. Although Bencic was able to tie it up 3-3, Fernandez was able to battle back in order to win the set. The Canadian was able to settle her opponent by delivering two aces of the set, winning 75 per cent of the net points, and saving three out of the five break points she faced.
In the second set, it was clear Bencic had settled into the game up 3-1 on the 2021 US Open finalist. Although Fernandez was able to get on the scoreboard, the Swiss was able to take it 6-3, to force a third set.
Moving into the third, both players left it all on the court. However, Fernandez was able to gain the upper hand and book her trip to the round of 16, beating Bencic 7-5, 3-6, 7-5.
For Fernandez, this is the first time in her career she has made it to the fourth round at Roland Garros and she is not ready to stop here. Next on deck for the Canadian is No. 28 ranked Amanda Anisimova who defeated Karolina Muchova earlier today. Anisimova and Fernandez have gone head-to-head at the BNP Paribas Open, where the American was forced to retire from the match before the third set.