Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Australian Open | Really the end of Laila Fernandez

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Virginia Whitehead
Virginia Whitehead
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This is not the expected start to the season, nor the one that Leila Fernandez was hoping for. To everyone’s surprise, the young Quebec admitted losing in two sets 6-4, 6-2 to tough Madison Ingles in the first round of the Australian Open. Better luck next time.

Posted yesterday at 11:25 PM.

Catherine Harvey Benard

Catherine Harvey Benard

Dressed in the light blue of her new sponsor Lululemon, Fernandez faced an opponent who had the upper hand in their only matches dating back to 2019. But you have to believe that feature, if you can call it that, has changed a lot.

Despite the huge gap between players in the world rankings of more than 100 places, Fernandes is ranked 23e While Inglis is 133e The match was clearly in favor of the Australian.

The 19-year-old Quebec had problems with her serve since the beginning of the fencing. At 3-3 in the first set, she double-faulted, giving Inglis a first break that turned out to be a turning point in the match, as the latter seemed to gain confidence afterwards.

After the first round, Fernandes already counted 5 double faults and 19 unforced errors, against 11 for his opponent. Canada was apparently surprised by the turn of events, and Canada exited Group B as the best player in 2021. With a score of 2-0 in favor of Ingles, they haven’t scored any points yet, that is.

Photo by Michael Airy, AFP

Madison Inglis

Despite this, she hesitantly continued to fight hard, delivering some sharp and accurate blows. At one point we heard the explicit “You can do it, go ahead” at the heights of 1573 Arena in Melbourne.

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However, it was a waste of time for Fernandez. Ahead of her was a stubborn and not least intimidating opponent, who closed the books after an hour and 23 minutes of play.

Laila Fernandez won 67% of her first serve to 73% for Maddison Inglis, who saved all three break points she faced.

With her arms in the air and a big smile on her lips, the 24-year-old Australian let out a few screams, as soon as victory was in her pocket. With good reason because it was his first career win in a Grand Slam main draw.

Fernandez had a neutral expression when he left the field.

Bad start to the season

So Fernandes’ trip to the Australian Open will be much shorter than everyone expected. It is also the third year in a row that she has been defeated in the first round of these Grand Slams.

The third confrontation in 2022 was for Fernandez. She had played two matches in the Adelaide Championships in early January. After defeating Ekaterina Alexandrova, she lost in sets 6-1, 6-2 against Poland’s Iga Šwieciek in the round of 16.

Then she made the decision to withdraw from the Sydney tournament. Among the branches, some spoke of an injury, but nothing was confirmed by the Fernandez clan.

It has to be said that the young athlete has to face extra pressure this season, after her impressive run at the US Open last September. Then she attracted all eyes by reaching the Grand Final, during which she lost to young Briton Emma Raducano.

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