Fil-Canadian and Ecuadorian Leylah Annie Fernandez has everyone cheering for her at the U.S. Open. She aces a spot in the U.S. Open Finals after defeating world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the semis. It’ll be a battle of the teens in the U.S. Open Finals as Leylah will meet 18-year-old Emma Raducanu of Great Britain on the court. The Bromley-based teen who’s also of Asian decent was born in Toronto, Canada but moved to England at 2-years-old. It’ll be the first time in more than 20 years that two teens will meet for an all-teen major final.
The Fil-Canadian tennis player first made headlines when upsetting the current U.S. Open champ and No. 3 seed Naomi Osaka in the third round of the tournament. Then in the recent quarterfinal, she defeated 5th seed Elina Svitolina the day after her 19th birthday. According to Bleacher Report, Leylah became the second youngest tennis player to defeat a top five seed twice at a Major since Serena Williams in 1999. She also is the youngest woman to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since Maria Sharapova in 2005.
Leylah is crawling up the history board and in the spotlight on one of the biggest stages. It’s definitely been a cinderella run for her in this year’s U.S. Open that so many other athletes have been showing their love for Leylah and her game from NBA players, fellow tennis players, and she even caught the attention of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Leylah is now inspiring Filipinos to take interest in tennis. “I’m so happy to hear that everyone in the Philippines is cheering for me and supporting me. So thank you.” She also added that she looks forward to eating her “lolo’s” (grandfather’s) Filipino cooking when she returns.
She is the daughter of an Ecuadorian father and Filipino-Canadian mother and besides being a tennis player, she has a couple more talents up her sleeve. Leylah speaks fluently in English, French, and Spanish. We hope she adds Filipino to that list. But sports sort of run in her family. Her father Jorge was a former pro soccer player who played across South America while her younger sister Bianca Jolie is also a tennis player. Her dad has been a source of inspiration and he’s been coaching her since she was 6 years old. Before her quarterfinal match, her dad gave some advice. “Today he told me to go out there, have fun, fight for every ball, fight for every point. ‘Today’s your first quarterfinals, don’t make it your last. Don’t make it your last match over here. Fight for your dream.’ “
The last stop to Leylah’s U.S. Open dream run is now the finals! Check out the preview of the final match happening on September 11th!
Cover Photo Credit: US Open Tennis Facebook