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Leylah Fernandez’s run in Indian Wells comes to an end

Oct 12, 2021
written by: Tennis Canada
written by: Tennis Canada

Leylah Fernandez, the last Canadian standing in Indian Wells, was eliminated from the singles draw by Shelby Rogers of the US earlier today (2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4)). Fernandez was playing in the event for the first time and had her sights set on being the second Canadian to win the prestigious title since Bianca Andreescu.

But the road to the trophy wasn’t going to be an easy one. World no.44 Shelby Rogers had a perfect 1-0 record against Fernandez and a 4-0 record against Canadian players.

Determined to break the cycle, Leylah started out with tremendous force. She capitalized on the two breaks Rogers gave her and stayed calm as she weathered all four of the breaks against her. She managed to quickly put away the first set 6-2 and take control (it was Rogers’ first set lost in Indian Wells).

Still, the resilient Shelby Rogers wasn’t about to throw in the towel and broke her opponent four times to secure the second set 6-1.

The first two sets were one-sided, but the third definitely wasn’t. After trading breaks, Fernandez and Rogers fought a battle so fierce that neither was able to win two consecutive games. Leylah even clawed her way back from a match point to force the tiebreaker. Still, despite her best efforts, she wasn’t able to counter the American’s momentum, and Rogers wrapped things up at 7-6(4). Interesting fact: it was the first time since the Charleston Open that Rogers won her match after losing the first set.

The 28-year-old will now cross paths with No.24 Jelena Ostapenko, who took everyone by surprise when she overpowered Iga Swiatek (2) in two sets, 6-4, 6-3. Ostapenko, who’s been ranked as high as world No.5, is pursuing her excellent season after raising her fourth winner’s trophy in Eastbourne and competing in the final in Luxembourg.

Shapovalov last Canadian standing in doubles

A few hours after her singles defeat, Fernandez was back on court looking to reach the semi-finals of the doubles alongside Coco Gauff. Unfortunately, the teenagers were overmatched by the second seeds Elise Mertens and Su Wei Hsieh, going down in straight sets.

Fernandez and Gauff lost their serve early in the opening set, but managed to fight back to level at 4-all. The comeback was short-lived, as they were broken to love at 5-all before the second seeds served out the set.

The second set was wild with five breaks of serve in ten games, including three straight from 3-all. But when the dust settled, it was Mertens and Hsieh breaking three times to reach the final four. In the end, the Canadian-American team only won 48 percent of their own service points.

It was not all disappointment for Canada on Tuesday, however, as Denis Shapovalov advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles after a straight-set win over Alexander Zverev and Jan-Lennard Struff.

Shapovalov is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 event in doubles for the sixth time in his career, the first in Indian Wells. His best performance came in Montreal in 2019 when he and Bopanna reached the semi-finals.

The Canadian-Indian team were very solid on serve, winning 84 percent of their first-serve points, 67 percent of their seconds, and saved two of three break points.

After going down a break in the opening set, Shapovalov and Bopanna bounced back quickly and went on a roll, winning eight of 10 games from 4-3 in the first set to turn a break deficit into a set and 4-1 lead. They never looked back, needing only one break in the second set to book their place in the last eight.

With Fernandez’s losses, Shapovalov is now the only Canadian remaining in any draw in Indian Wells. In the quarter-finals, Shapovalov will look to avenge his singles loss to Aslan Karatsev as he gets a rematch against the Russian and his partner Andrey Rublev.