Fernandez fist pump

Photo: Martin Sidorjak

For the second time this season, Leylah Annie Fernandez has defeated Austria’s Julia Grabher, this time in the opening round at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a WTA 1000 event.

The 20-year-old Laval native posted a convincing 6-4, 6-2 victory on Sunday to follow up the flawless 6-0, 6-1 win she earned against Grabher, ranked no. 90 in the world, earlier this year in Auckland. Fernandez was on the front foot from the outset and dominated proceedings from start to finish once again. Her only hiccup in the match came when she was broken in the eighth game of the first set to help her opponent get back even at 4-4. Still, she rebounded immediately in the next game to get the break back and never looked back from that point on.

Fernandez was aggressive, and in complete control which meant Grabher couldn’t do much to slow her down. It’s a good time for a dose of confidence as she’s set to face World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the second round. The two players have met once before, last season, in a one-sided contest that went the way of Swiatek who was crowned champion in Doha this weekend to cap yet another dominant tournament for the best player in the women’s game.

Fernandez is also entered in doubles and will team up with popular American Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The duo will face Anna Danilina and Luisa Stefani in their opening match.

Bianca Andreescu will look to join her Canadian compatriot in round 2 on Monday when she takes on Australian Open finalist and the reigning Wimbledon winner, Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan.