Trudeau, Maple Syrup Council and Magic Johnson get ready to cheer on Leylah Fernandez
After tonight, a Canadian teenage phenom could find herself preparing for the final match of the U.S. Open -- or looking back at a miracle run no one saw coming at the prestigious Grand Slam in New York.
Teenage giant-slayer Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, ranked 73rd in the world, will ride the energy of a nation, plus the likes of Magic Johnson, at Arthur Ashe Stadium when she faces Belorussian Aryna Sabalenka at 7 p.m.
If you haven’t seen the most exciting player at the US Open, 19-year old Leylah Fernandez, you’re truly missing out!! She just beat her 3rd ranked opponent and is on fire ������������. She’s captivating the world! @leylahfernandez— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 7, 2021
Even the Maple Syrup Council sent out a message cheering her on. After her last match, when Fernandez was asked "what are they feeding you there, up in Canada?", she jokingly mentioned maple syrup.
Fernandez is one of two teenagers in the semi-finals after Britain's Emma Raducanu, who turns 19 in November, booked a date with Swiss Belinda Bencic in the late match.
SPEED VERSUS POWER
The 5'6" southpaw from Laval, who just turned 19 this week, will need more than a maple sugar rush against the 5'11" no. 2 seed, the power-serving Sabalenka.
Sabalenka hasn't lost a set since the first round. She crushed no. 8 Barbora Krejcikova (6-1, 6-4) and no. 15 Elise Martens (6-4, 6-1) in the last two rounds.
Then again... Elina Svitolina had not lost a set leading up to her first game against Fernandez, and Angelique Kerber had won eight straight three-set matches before Fernandez took the German down in the Round of 16.
Fernandez also broke Naomi Osaka when she was serving for the match.
Big day for Canadian tennis! Congrats to @leylahfernandez, who’s heading to the semi-finals at the @USopen, and good luck to @felixtennis in your quarter-final match tonight. We’re cheering you on from home!��— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 7, 2021
It's Sabalenka's second Grand Slam semi-final after making it to the same spot at Wimbledon this year. She previously won the U.S. Open with doubles partner Mertens in 2019 and 2021.
Fernandez has been unfazed by impressive stat sheets in the past three rounds, dispatching two former U.S. Open champions, breaking serves, and rallying back when she seems about to crack.
Watch for a muted fist pump as Fernandez bounces from foot to foot when she's looking to shake off bad runs of form.
Where Sabalenka relies on power, Fernandez uses her speed, agility and a deadly forehand to force her opponents to match her seemingly unending supply of energy.
Sabalenka has a tiger tattoo on her left arm, and she often refers to herself as a tiger. Her nickname is "the Tiger."
The Tiger, however, will have to deal with the feline athleticism and craftiness from her Canadian opponent, who has Filipina-Ecuadorian roots, to book a date in the final.
Tomorrow, it's Felix Auger-Aliassime's turn when he faces the tournament's second seed, Daniil Medvedev.