Leylah Fernandez winds up to hit a backhand.

Photo : Hong Kong Tennis Open

With the Billie Jean King Cup Finals and a potential debut at the WTA Finals in doubles fast approaching, Leylah Annie Fernandez is finding her game at the right time. 

The Canadian is into her first semifinal of the year at the WTA 250 event in Hong Kong after beating 18-year-old Linda Fruhvirtova on Friday in straight sets 7-6(2), 6-2. 

Fernandez was highly efficient in the quarter-final clash, putting 76 per cent of her first serves in play, winning 75 per cent of those points and 60 per cent of her second serve points. She was also solid on break points, saving four of five on her own serve while converting three of her seven opportunities. 

It is Fernandez’s first semifinal on the WTA Tour since winning the title in Monterrey in March 2022. 

She set the tone early with a break in the opening game and then saved three break points to consolidate. Fruhvirtova did battle back, breaking in the fourth game to level the set at 2-2, but that was the last time she got into a Fernandez service game in the match. 

Read also: Fernandez, Marino, Dabrowski, Bouchard, and Stakusic to represent Team Canada at Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Seville

In the tiebreak, Fernandez hit back-to-back winners on her opponent’s serve to take a 4-1 lead, which was plenty of cushion as she raced through the breaker, capping it off with her 23rd winner, a clean return winner, of the opening set. 

Once again it was the Canadian landing the first blow in the second set, breaking for a 3-1 lead. Fernandez had found a rhythm on serve and faced little resistance in the second set, losing just two points on her own delivery and holding to love three times.  

However, she did not need to rely entirely on her serve to close out the match as she found herself up double match point on the Fruhvirtova serve and the Czech fired a forehand long to send Fernandez into the final four. 

Read also: Bouchard Returns to Team Canada for the First Time Since 2018

Fruhvirtova was the Canadian’s second teenage victim in a row, as Fernandez had taken out 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva in the three sets in the second round. In round one, the Canadian advanced after top seed Victoria Azarenka retired before the third set of their match

Standing between Fernandez and her first final in 19 months is fifth seed Anna Blinkova. The pair have split their two previous meetings. Blinkova won earlier this year on grass in Bad Homburg, but Fernandez won their lone hard-court meeting back in 2020 in Cincinnati.