Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez wins first-round match at Grampians Trophy

Canada's Leylah Fernandez clenches her fist after scoring a point against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in the third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Canada's Leylah Annie Fernandez beat 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the Grampians Trophy on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old Fernandez, from Laval, Que., won 70.6 per cent of her points when she got her first serve in, well above the American's 44.4 per-cent mark.

Fernandez, ranked 89th in the world, saved five of seven break points against the world No. 40.

The Canadian will face No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece in the second round of the Australian Open tune-up.

Meanwhile, Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski was ousted in straight sets by Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine

The 18-year-old Kostyuk, No. 78 in the world rankings, took the first-round matchup in Melbourne 6-0, 6-3 in just 57 minutes.

The 28-year-old Dabrowski, No. 493 in the world, was competing in a rare women's singles match tournament for players coming out of hard quarantine following COVID-19 exposure on charter flights to Australia.

She last played a singles event Sept. 14 in Rome, falling in qualifying at the Italian Open.

Dabrowski - No. 10 in the world doubles rankings - has nine doubles titles in her career, including the 2018 Australian Open mixed crown alongside Mate Pavic of Croatia.

Top Canadian Bianca Andreescu was expected to return to the court at this week's tournament, but withdrew on Tuesday and will instead return to action at the Australian Open.

The Australian Open is scheduled to start Feb. 8.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 2, 2021.

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