Tennis

Leylah Annie Fernandez wraps up Billie Jean King Cup win for Canada against Serbia

​​​​​​​Leylah Annie Fernandez clinched a Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie victory for Canada with a dramatic win today in Kraljevo, Serbia.

Canadians clinch best-of-5 tie by winning 3 straight matches

Leylah Annie Fernandez, the top-ranked singles player in the indoor hard-court-tie at No. 72, defeated Serbia's Nina Stojanovic on Saturday to clinch the best-of-five tie for Canada. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/File)

Leylah Annie Fernandez clinched a Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie victory for Canada with a dramatic win today in Kraljevo, Serbia.

The 18-year-old Fernandez, from Laval, Que., beat Serbia's Nina Stojanovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to give Canada an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five tie.

Fernandez, ranked 72nd in the world, was about to have her fifth match-point opportunity against the 87th-ranked Stojanovic when some of the lights went out at the indoor hard-court facility.

Stojanovic, with serve and trailing 5-4 in the third set, came back from the 13-minute delay to win a long point. But Fernandez won the next two points to finally put an end to a match that lasted two hours 46 minutes.

WATCH | Fernandez outlasts Serbia's Stojanovic:

Fernandez seals Billie Jean King Cup win for Canada

Sports

22 days ago
3:55
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada defeated Serbia's Nina Stojanovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 Saturday in Kraljevo, Serbia to give Canada a 3-0 lead in the best-of-five tie at the Billie Jean King Cup. 3:55
"I think it was just trying to trick myself that it wasn't match point for me, that I wasn't up in the third set," Fernandez said of her attitude after the lights went off. "It was more, let's earn this point, thinking it's 0-0 or that I'm down in a set trying to get back into it. Just fight for every point."

Canada won the tie 4-0 after Toronto's Carol Zhao and Vancouver's Rebecca Marino beat Ivana Jorovic and Aleksandra Krunic 4-6, 6-3, 10-0 in a dead-rubber doubles match.

WATCH | Canada sweeps without Andreescu, Dabrowski:

Clean sweep for Canada at Billie Jean King Cup

Sports

22 days ago
0:29
Canada's doubles team of Carol Zhao and Rebecca Marino defeated Ivana Jorovic and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 4-6, 6-3, 10-0 in a dead-rubber doubles match Saturday to finish off the Billie Jean King Cup with a record of 4-0. 0:29
Canada was without its top singles player, Bianca Andreescu, who has a foot injury. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada's top doubles player, also didn't play.

"Honestly very proud of myself that I was able to push through the nerves of this match," Fernandez said. "I knew it was not going to be easy."

230th-ranked Marino shocks Stojanovic

It was the second long match in a row for Fernandez, who needed two hours 34 minutes to beat Olga Danilovic 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 in the opener yesterday.

The 230th-ranked Marino then gave Canada a commanding 2-0 lead with a 6-4, 7-6 (6) upset against Stojanovic.

The top-ranked Serbian, Stojanovic made 63 unforced errors against Fernandez. The Canadian had 45 unforced errors.

Fernandez is in the midst of a promising year, having won her first career WTA Tour title last month in Mexico.

"It's definitely a big confidence boost. It helps a lot," she said. "It wasn't an easy start of the year for me but I kept training, kept improving and I was happy to get my first title a few weeks ago in Mexico. And here to be playing for my country, getting those emotions, the support from my teammates … from our country was tremendously helpful. Just to win this weekend was great for my upcoming season."

Canada advances to next year's qualifiers, where a win would secure a berth in the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

The Billie Jean King Cup is the new name for the Fed Cup — the top international team tournament in women's tennis.

WATCH | Answers to key questions surrounding the Tokyo Olympics:

Answers to key questions surrounding Tokyo Olympics

Sports

24 days ago
3:41
There’s less than 100 days to go until the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are full steam ahead despite the pandemic. Here are the answers to the biggest questions surrounding the competition. 3:41

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now