Leylah Fernandez Shines in Singles and Doubles at Qatar Open

Leylah Fernandez, the rising star of Canadian tennis, had a successful start at the Qatar Open on Monday, as she won both her singles and doubles matches to advance to the second round. Fernandez, who is ranked 73rd in the world, defeated the 12th seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia in a tight two-setter, and then partnered with Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia to beat the Italian pair of Jasmine Paolini and Sara Errani in a thrilling super tiebreak.

Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez

Fernandez Edges Out Samsonova in Singles

Fernandez, who is 19 years old and hails from Laval, Quebec, faced a tough opponent in Samsonova, who is ranked 36th in the world and has won two WTA titles. Fernandez, who has one WTA title to her name, played with confidence and aggression, hitting 25 winners and breaking Samsonova’s serve four times.

The first set was closely contested, with both players exchanging breaks and holding serve until 5-5. Fernandez then broke Samsonova again and served out the set 7-5. In the second set, Fernandez took an early lead with a break in the first game, and extended it to 5-2. However, Samsonova fought back and broke Fernandez twice to level the set at 6-6. The set went to a tiebreak, where Fernandez regained her composure and closed out the match 7-5, 7-6 (4) in two hours and 10 minutes.

“I’m very happy with the win,” Fernandez said. “She’s a great player and it was a tough match. I just tried to stay focused and play my game.”

Fernandez and Kalashnikova Prevail in Doubles

Fernandez, who is also a talented doubles player, teamed up with Kalashnikova, who is ranked 59th in the world in doubles and has won six WTA titles. The duo faced a formidable challenge in Paolini and Errani, who are both ranked in the top 100 in doubles and have won a combined 11 WTA titles.

Fernandez and Kalashnikova started well, breaking Paolini and Errani twice to take the first set 6-4. However, the Italians bounced back and broke Fernandez and Kalashnikova three times to win the second set 6-3. The match went to a super tiebreak, where both teams had chances to win. Fernandez and Kalashnikova saved two match points at 9-10 and 10-11, and then converted their third match point at 12-11 to seal the victory 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 in one hour and 40 minutes.

“It was a great match and a lot of fun,” Fernandez said. “We played well together and we’re happy to get the win.”

Fernandez Faces Badosa in Second Round

Fernandez, who is the only Canadian left in the singles draw, will face Paula Badosa of Spain in the second round on Tuesday. Badosa, who is ranked 30th in the world and is the 15th seed, received a bye in the first round. Badosa, who is 23 years old, has won one WTA title and reached the quarterfinals of the French Open last year.

Fernandez and Badosa have never played each other before, but they have a similar playing style, with both being left-handed and having powerful groundstrokes. Fernandez will have to deal with Badosa’s strong serve and forehand, and try to use her speed and variety to unsettle her opponent.

“I’m looking forward to playing her,” Fernandez said. “She’s a great player and I’m sure it will be a tough match. I’ll just try to do my best and enjoy the moment.”

In doubles, Fernandez and Kalashnikova will face the top seeds, Elise Mertens of Belgium and Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, in the second round on Wednesday. Mertens and Hsieh are both ranked in the top 10 in doubles and have won a combined 35 WTA titles, including three Grand Slams.

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