MANILA, Philippines – Leylah Fernandez cut a tall Slovak Anna Schmiedlova down to size, coming away with a 6-2, 6-2 victory to lead the Last 16 phase cast of the Abierto GNP Seguros 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico on Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
The Filipino-Canadian pumped in two aces and bucked a couple of double faults by going 24 of 32 (75%) on first serve points won and 8 of 14 (57.1%) on second serve points won. She finished with 57 of 93 (61.3%) total points won against her rival’s 36 of 93 (38.7%).
The second seeded Fernandez, 19, will slug it out against the winner of the Qinwen Zheng of China and Italian Lucia Bronzetti duel in one of the matches being played at presstime.
The 2021 US Women’s Open finalist is bidding to keep her first pro crown she won without dropping a set, capping it with a 6-1. 6-4 triumph over Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic in the finals last year.
But she's in for a rough outing with top seed Elina Svitolina looming large in the upper draw of the 32-player field. The Ukrainian is still playing Russian Anastasia Potapova in a clash of players whose countries are currently embroiled in a war.
Fernandez, however, has beaten Svitolina in their previous meeting, humbling her in three sets in the quarterfinals of the US Women’s Open in one of her great runs against a number of seeded bets in the sport’s last Slam at Flushing Meadows in New York last September.
Others who advanced were Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova, who beat France’s Diane Parry, 6-4, 6-0; local ace Marcela Zacarias, who turned back American Emma Navarro, 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-3; No. 5 Camila Osorio of Colombia, who held off Pole Magdalena Frech, 6-3, 7-6(6); and Spain’s No. 4 Sara Tormo, who survived Russian Kamilla Rakhimova, 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-1.
Fernandez broke Schmiedlova twice in the early going to seize a 4-0 lead and stayed in control the rest of the way in a big start aimed at fueling not only her title-retention drive but also her bid to redeem herself from a series of early defeats in the new season.
The world No. 21 lost in the Round of 16 in the Adelaide International I and made a first round exit in the Australian Open. She also struggled in the doubles, her partnership with Kiwi Erin Routliffe losing in the quarterfinals in Adelaide and in the Round of 64 in the Aussie Open.
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