Canada's Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime move on to 4th round at French Open

Canada's Leylah Fernandez is off to the fourth round of the French Open. The U.S. Open runner-up from Montreal beat Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland on Friday in three sets (7-5, 3-6, 7-5).

Auger-Aliassime will next face 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal

Leylah Fernandez of Canada celebrates after winning match point against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland during their women's singles match at the Roland-Garros French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Friday. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Canada's Leylah Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime have advanced to the fourth round of the French Open.

Fernandez, a 19-year-old Montreal native, outlasted Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 on the main court at Roland Garros on Friday.

It's the first time Fernandez, the runner-up at the 2021 U.S. Open, has advanced past the third round in Paris.

The 17th-seeded Fernandez broke Bencic in the 11th game of the deciding set and served out the match. She had saved two set points in the opener.

"It was an incredible fight and I think today it was just trusting my game when it mattered most," Fernandez said. "I am glad that I was able to trust it enough for me to keep going and keep executing the game plan."

Fernandez next faces 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who reached the Roland Garros semifinals in 2019.

WATCH | Fernandez advances to 4th round at French Open:

Fernandez reaches the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the 1st time in her career

1 month ago
Duration 5:08
No. 17 seed Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., beat No. 14 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to advance to the round of 16 at the French Open.

Anisimova, the No. 27 seed, advanced when Karolina Muchova stopped playing after hurting her right ankle. Anisimova was leading 6-7 (7), 6-2, 3-0 when Muchova conceded.

Fernandez and Anisimova have played each other only once before on the WTA Tour at Indian Wells in March, when the American abruptly retired after losing a second-set tiebreak.

Fernandez said she always looks forward to testing herself against other young players on the tour.

"I think it's great for the sport," she said of the youthful matchup. "We can bring more young fans to tennis to enjoy the matches and hopefully they can pick up a tennis racket.

"I think it's great to see that all of us are improving every year. We keep playing against the best players in the world here and we can [hold] our own."

The best result by a Canadian woman in the French Open singles draw came in 2014 when Eugenie Bouchard reached the semifinals.

In men's singles, the 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime defeated Serbia's Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-5. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces in the three-hour match.

"I was expecting a tough match today and it was," Auger-Aliassime said. "But at the end of the day, I was serving really well ... [it] was a good showing today."

The ninth-seeded Montreal native will next face No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal of Spain. Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal's uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime reaches round of 16 at Roland Garros:

Auger-Aliassime advances to the round of 16 at Roland Garros

1 month ago
Duration 3:14
No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal defeated Serbia's Filip Krajinovic 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7-5 to advance to the round of 16 at the French Open for the first time in his career.

"I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match," Auger-Aliassime. "For my part, it's another match and another opportunity to try to play a good match and win. But of course it's very difficult."

Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, moved into the fourth round by beating Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

"I am sure that even if [Toni] is working with another player, I think for him it is going to be difficult for him to want me to lose," said Nadal, when asked about his uncle during a TV interview on Friday.

Djokovic records another straight-set victory

Defending champion Novak Djokovic recorded another straight-set victory and will face Diego Schwartzman for a spot in the quarterfinals at the French Open.

The top-ranked Djokovic beat Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 at Court Philippe Chatrier in 1 hour, 44 minutes — the quickest of his three wins.

Schwartzman's 0-6 record against Djokovic includes a five-setter in the third round at the 2017 French Open. The Argentine is seeded 15th.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion hasn't lost in the third round at Roland Garros since 2009.

Begu fined after bouncing racket into crowd

A French Open player has been fined $10,000 by the tournament after she threw her racket and it bounced off the clay and into the stands during a match.

Irina-Camelia Begu, a 31-year-old Romanian who is ranked 63rd, was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct during the third set of her victory against 30th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round at Court 13.

The match was Thursday. The fine was announced Friday.

After dropping a point, Begu walked to the sideline and chucked her racket, which flew behind chair umpire Anis Ressaissi's seat, landing among spectators sitting courtside. There were gasps from fans and a child could be heard crying.

Tournament referee Remy Azemar said the equipment "brushed a young spectator," who "turned out to be OK."

In other matches: 

  • Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens beat French teenager Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros. The American was the runner-up in 2018 after having won the title at Flushing Meadows the year before. Stephens will play No. 23 Jil Teichmann, who advanced by defeating two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5).

  • Third seed and last year's semi-finalist Alexander Zverev reached the fourth round by winning 7-6(2) 6-3 7-6(5) against American Brandon Nakashima.The German, who won the Olympic gold in Tokyo last year, will be playing in the fourth round in Paris for the fifth consecutive year.

  • Coco Gauff reached the fourth round at the French Open by beating Kaia Kanepi. The 18-year-old Gauff, the youngest remaining woman in the draw, defeated the 36-year-old Kanepi, the oldest remaining woman, 6-3, 6-4. The young American is trying to improve on her quarterfinal run at Roland Garros a year ago.

  • Carlos Alcaraz displayed deft drop shots and plenty of other skillful strokes to become the youngest man in the French Open's fourth round since Novak Djokovic in 2006. The 19-year-old Alcaraz advanced by beating 21-year-old American Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 under the lights at Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday night.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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