LEYLAH Fernandez (CAN) returns the ball to Amanda Anisimova (USA) during their match on day eight of the French Open at Stade Roland-Garros. — REUTERS
PARIS — Improving her overall game was the top priority for Leylah Fernandez after her runner-up finish at last year’s US Open and the Canadian teenager believes she is on the right track after making the French Open quarterfinals for the first time.
The 19-year-old left-hander, who won the girls’ title three years ago at the claycourt Grand Slam, made a stunning run to the championship match at Flushing Meadows where she went down to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu.
Fernandez won a WTA 250 title in Monterrey, Mexico, at the beginning of March but her path since making her maiden major final has been marked by numerous defeats.
“I think I’m improving more and more and understanding my game, that’s the most important thing,” she told reporters on Sunday, after defeating American 27th seed Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“That was our goal after the US Open, that we just want to improve my tennis game, my all-around game, and just keep getting those opportunities and see where my level is at and see where I can improve for the next match.”
A dogged fighter from the baseline with a stinging forehand, Fernandez said she wanted to add more aggression to her game.
“I think I just understood that there is a process, and it’s still a long year, very long year, and I just need to calm myself down, calm my mind down, and just accept that things are going to be tough,” she said.
“Things are going to go sideways in a match, in a practice, and just understand that I’ve got more tools in my toolbox that I can use and just find solutions.”
World number one Iga Świątek is the only survivor among the top 10 women’s seeds at Roland Garros, but Fernandez said she was taking nothing for granted. — Reuters