Leylah Fernandez hits a forehand

Photo : Jimmie48 Photography

Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez will switch her attention to doubles at the WTA 500 Adelaide International after falling out of the singles draw thanks to a 6-1, 6-2 loss to Iga Swiatek on Wednesday evening.

Fernandez had reached the round of 16 following a straight-sets, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Ekaterina Alexandrova on Monday. This meeting with 2020 French Open champion Swiatek, who had beaten Daria Saville in her opening-round match, was the first time the Quebecer had faced 20-year-old from Poland in their young careers.

Playing in just her second tournament as a top 50 player, No. 24 Fernandez’s match opened proceedings on Centre Court at 11:00 a.m. local time. The first set was a one-sided affair as, after the pair exchanged early blows, Swiatek won five consecutive games – claiming two of four break points – to clinch it 6-1. Fernandez struggled particularly on her first serve, landing 48% compared to 76% for her opponent.

Onto the second set. Swiatek was playing with tremendous confidence and seemed in the zone from the offset. Making her shots with apparent ease, she crafted two more early breaks and consolidated them to take a swift 5-1 lead. The World No. 9 was playing inspired tennis and, despite her best efforts, there was little Fernandez could do to stop her. The Canadian showed resilience to battle back from 0:40 down, saving three match points, in her next service game to bring the score to 5-2.

Swiatek, though, did not crumble and finished off the set with a commanding forehand on match point having been made to work hard for the victory by Fernandez in the final game. The 20-year-old will now face either Victoria Azarenka or Priscilla Hon in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Fernandez’s focus will now turn to doubles as she and partner Erin Routliffe prepare to take on Ashleigh Barty and Storm Sanders in the quarter-finals later this evening. Fernandez and Routliffe saw off a tough challenge in the form of Yang Zhaoxuan and Xu Yifan in the round of 16 on Tuesday.