Leylah Annie Fernandez pumps her fist. She beaten Qinwen Zheng on Wednesday in Doha.

Photo : @QatarTennis

Leylah Annie Fernandez is showing no signs of slowing down at the first WTA 1000 of the year as she added Australian Open runner-up Qinwen Zheng to her list of upsets in Doha. 

After a round one surprise of 12th seed Liudmila Samsonova followed by a comeback against former world No. 2 Paula Badosa, the young Canadian picked up her game again to score just her second Top 10 win since the 2021 US Open, taking down Zheng 7-5, 6-3. 

In her round two win over Badosa, the break points came quickly and often, but against Zheng in round three it was all about opportunistic tennis. There were five total break points in the match for both women combined, four on the Chinese’ serve of which three were converted by Fernandez. 

The Canadian cleaned up her serve in this match which helped keep Zheng at bay, winning 74 per cent of her first serve points and an impressive 67 per cent of her seconds, while feasting on her opponent’s second serve, claiming 61 per cent of those points. 

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It was Zheng drawing first blood midway through the opening set, using her big hitting to break for a 4-3 lead. However, Fernandez hung tough and got a bit of luck to get back on serve when her return clipped the net cord and died on Zheng’s side on break point as the Chinese served for the set. 

From 3-5 down, the Canadian reeled off five games in a row to steal the opening set and hold to open the second, including breaking again in the 12th and final game of the first set. 

There was little between the two women in the second as Zheng continued to blast away from the baseline while Fernandez absorbed everything thrown at her. 

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The match ultimately came down to one point in the sixth game, where on break point the Canadian ripped a backhand return to get control of the point before drawing an error with a big forehand to break for a 4-2 lead. 

That was the only break point of the set and Fernandez never gave Zheng a chance to get back in the match, dropping just one point in her final two service games. 

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So far in Doha, Fernandez has taken out two seeds and a former world No. 2, but the road will not get any easier in the quarter-finals as the Canadian will meet another Top 10 opponent, world No. 4 Elena Rybakina, for a spot in her first WTA 1000 semifinal.