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Roland-Garros: Fernandez battles past Bencic to set up Anisimova showdown

Leylah Fernandez needed two hours and 49 minutes to overcome a stiff challenge from Belinda Bencic and reach the fourth round at the French Open for the first time

Leylah Annie Fernandez reacts during her third round match against Belinda Bencic Leylah Annie Fernandez reacts during her third round match against Belinda Bencic Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez is through to the fourth round of Roland-Garros for the first time in her young career after surviving a hard-fought battle against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic. The left-handed teenager will take on American Amanda Anisimova in the fourth round on Sunday.

Fernandez, still 19 years old and already a US Open finalist, and Bencic, the 25-year-old Olympic gold medalist, battled back -and-forth for two hours and 49 minutes in an intense struggle on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Fernandez was quicker off the blocks, going up 3-0 before Bencic broke back to level at 3-3. The Swiss broke her younger rival again to lead 5-4 and held two set points on her own serve in the 10th. But this time it was the No 17 seed from Canada who fought back to 5-5, and won the next two games to claim the first set 7-5.

In the second set, it was Bencic was took the early lead, breaking to lead 3-1. The Swiss held on to that break for 5-3 and broke Fernandez’s serve once again to win the set 6-3 and level the match.

Leylah Fernandez serves for the match, gets broken, serves it out on her second opportunity

In the decider, both players exchanged breaks early on, before Fernandez broke for a second time and built a 5-3 lead. But Bencic wasn’t done yet as she broke back for 5-5.

However, the determined Canadian won eight of the last nine points to complete the 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win and reach the last 16 in Paris for the first time in her third main draw appearance in Paris.

It is also only the second time that Fernandez has reached the fourth round at a Major after her scintillating run to the US Open final in September.

Fernandez will face the 27th seed Amanda Anisimova for a place in the quarter-finals. The American advanced to the fourth round when her Czech opponent Karolina Muchova was forced to retire while trailing 6-7, 6-2, 3-0 due to an injury she picked up after falling on court in the second set.

Paris (Grand Slam): Friday women’s third-round results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay, EUR 43.600.000)

  • Martina Trevisan beat Daria Saville (WC): 6-3, 6-4
  • Amanda Anisimova beat Karolina Muchova: 6-7 [7], 6-2, 3-0 ab.
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