Leylah Fernandez pumps her fist.

Photo : Abierto GNP Seguros

There must be something in the water in Mexico that agrees with Leylah Fernandez.

The Canadian teen remains on track to defend a title for the first time in her career at the first time of asking as she advanced to the semi-finals in Monterrey late Friday/early Saturday with a win over Qiang Wang.

It was nearly 1 am local time when the match got underway but after a sluggish start, the defending champion built momentum as the match went on and when the final ball was struck at 2:45 am, it was Fernandez walking away with a 7-6(4), 6-4 victory.

Fernandez is now two wins away from defending the title she won in 2021, defeating Viktorija Golubic in the final. She also reached the final of Acapulco in 2020.

Serve was key for Fernandez, who won 76 percent of her first-serve points. While she only saved one of the three break points she faced, all three came in the first three games of the match. The Canadian also returned well, creating ten break points, converting three, and winning 44 percent of Wang’s service points.

When the players finally got on court to start the match, it was around 12:45 am after three long matches earlier in the day. Wang was not bothered by the late start, as she broke in Fernandez’s first two service games for a quick 3-0 lead.

After falling behind the early double break, Fernandez found her footing. She did not face a break point for the rest of the match and managed to claw her way back in the set, reclaiming both breaks to level at 4-all.

She also trailed by a minibreak in the tiebreak, before reeling off five of the last six points to take the opening set.

In the second set, Fernandez applied continual pressure to Wang’s serve and was rewarded with a break midway through the set, which was enough to see her into the semi-final.

Fernandez can reach a third final in Mexico in as many years if she defeats Beatriz Haddad Maia in Saturday’s semi-final.