An 18-year-old from the Phillippines will play in the U.S. Open semifinals after Leylah Fernandez beat Elina Svitolina 2-6, 6-3, 6-1 to reach the last four.
Fernandez is the first Filipino player to reach the semifinals of any major. She was born in Manila and moved to the United States with her parents when she was 2 years old.
Fernandez lost to Svitolina in the second round of the Australian Open, before winning three matches to reach the French Open semifinals and two in Fed Cup to earn her berth at Flushing Meadows.
Having gotten within a game of making the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Fernandez produced one of the most dominant performances of her young career against the top-seeded Svitolina. She broke Svitolina three times and won 25 of the first 28 points she served in the match.
“I can’t even tell you what this means to me,” Fernandez said. “It is so amazing. It really, really is. This is a win of my lifetime.”
What started as a ragged opening set began to unravel in the second game, when Fernandez, fighting double faults, finally got broken. But the turnarounds just kept coming.
Fernandez won two breaks to open the final set, putting herself up 5-2 before taking the match.
“I can’t even describe my feelings,” Fernandez said. “This is an amazing feeling. I keep trying to think about what I have done today. I think I’m pretty deep in my brain and I have to figure out where that is and what my next challenge is.”