Leylah Fernandez follows through on a forehand,

Photo : Pascal Ratthe

Leylah Annie Fernandez is shifting her focus to the year’s final Grand Slam after falling in the quarter-finals of the WTA 250 Tennis in the Land event in Cleveland, OH to Tatjana Maria on Thursday in straight sets.

Despite a quick start, the Canadian was never able to build much momentum against the German veteran and saw her deepest run at a tournament since January come to an end 6-3, 6-2.

It was just Fernandez’s second tour-level quarter-final of the season, having reached the last eight in her first event of the year in Auckland. The Canadian dropped just two games in three sets against Linda Noskova and Clara Tauson, who retired after the first set, to reach the quarters in Cleveland.

Fernandez faced constant pressure on her serve in the match, winning just 51 per cent of her first serve points and 37 per cent of her seconds, dropping serve five times in the match.

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The first set was a back-and-forth affair with both women breaking serve multiple times. It was Fernandez striking first to take a 2-1 lead before Maria won three straight games to go up a break at 4-2.

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Fernandez responded with a break to love, only to immediately drop serve again to trail 5-3. Despite taking a 15-40 lead as Maria served for the set, the Canadian was unable to convert her opportunities and dropped the opening frame.

Maria broke to start the second set and this time kept her foot on the gas. The German never faced a break point in the second, losing just three total points on serve as she added a second break before serving out the victory to love.

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The Canadian heads into the US Open, the site of her 2021 breakthrough, with a 24-19 record on the season. In the first round, she will face 22nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova. They have split their previous two meetings, both in 2022 on hard courts, both in straight sets.

Should she knock off the 22nd seed, Fernandez could face countrywoman Bianca Andreescu in the second round.