Heading into day four of the French Open, all eyes were on whether or not there would be an All-Canadian third-round meeting between the nation’s top two women’s singles players.
Leylah Annie Fernandez did her part, cruising through her second-round match, but Bianca Andreescu was unable to upset 14th seed Belinda Bencic, who will instead take on Fernandez for a place in the last 16.
Starting off the day, Fernandez faced doubles veteran and No. 56-ranked Katerina Siniakova. Siniakova has made it to the third round of the Roland Garros tournament the last four years and in 2019 beat then world No. 1 Naomi Osaka. However, this year Fernandez put a stop to this streak.
This draw captured a lot of attention from viewers with the hopes of seeing an all-Canadian match-up between Bianca Andreescu and Fernandez in the third round.
Fernandez, ranked No. 18, is coming off an outstanding performance against No. 107 Kristina Mladenovic. The 2021 US Open finalist won her first-round match in straight sets, 6-0 7-5. She was able to land 80 per cent of her serves, using them as her biggest weapon, coming into the tournament. This match was no different, Fernandez once again dominated her opponent with the forehand, winning in straight sets 6-3 6-2.
Both Fernandez and Siniakova have not met as opponents before in a tournament, however the pair have played as doubles partners at the Mutua Madrid Open, making this match one to watch. The two as doubles partners made it to the second round, losing to Slovakia’s Tereza Mihalikova and Norway’s Ulrikke Eikeri.
In the first set, Fernandez needed a bit of time to ease into the match. The two were back and forth at the beginning of the opening set. However, Fernandez was able to land 62 per cent of her serves, with only one double fault, and saving five out of the six break points she faced, as well as converting two out of three points she had on her opponents serve.
Fernandez was able to pick it up a gear coming out strong in the second set, looking unstoppable. She was able to amplify her defense winning the first two games without any points given to her opponent. During the second set Fernandez delivered one ace, landed 77 per cent of her first serves, and won 65 per cent of those points.
This is the second time in Fernandez’s career that she advances to the third round of the French Open.
Andreescu comeback falls short
There will be no All-Canadian clash at the 2022 French Open, however, as Bianca Andreescu was beaten in the second round on Wednesday by 14th seed Belinda Bencic.
Had Andreescu won, she would have met Fernandez in the third round.
Slow starts in both sets were costly for the 2019 US Open champion, who had to play from behind all day and unable to claw her way back, falling 6-2, 6-4.
Bencic was ruthless on return, winning 46 percent of Andreescu’s total service points, including 48 percent of second serve returns, and converted four of six break points. She also won the rally battle with 17 winners to the Canadian’s 12.
Andreescu got off to a nightmare start, double faulting on break point in her opening game to immediately put herself in a hole. She had a chance to break back in the sixth game when she held double break point, but the Canadian committed back-to-back unforced error to let Bencic escape.
The miss proved costly, as the Swiss added a second break on her way to taking the opening set.
Matters did not improve for Andreescu in the second, when she was once again break in the opening game. Bencic then managed to win four straight points from 40-15 in the third game to back it a double break.
With her back against the wall, the Canadian threw everything she had at the 14th seed and managed to reclaim one of the breaks when Bencic served for the match at 5-2. Andreescu then had a chance to level the set when Bencic double-faulted to set up a break point the second time she served for the match, but the Swiss saved it with a big serve.
Despite saving two matches points with some tremendous ball-striking, Andreescu was unable to save the third as she sent a shot long to end the match.
Reaching the second round in Paris matches Andreescu best result at Roland-Garros. It is the first time she has played two matches in the main draw of the French Open.