Leylah Annie Fernandez hits a backhand during practice at the 2022 Australian Open

Photo: Mutua Madrid Open

Leylah Annie Fernandez made her Mutua Madrid Open debut today, posting a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 win over world no. 64 Andrea Petkovic of Germany. The Canadian, who is seeded no. 17 in the tournament, continues her win streak which began at the Billie Jean King Cup in Vancouver by earning her fourth straight victory.

Fernandez quickly set the tone for the match, securing the first break of the match in the fourth game to take a commanding lead over her opponent and never looked back. She went on to win the final three games to take the opening set 6-1.

However, the tide literally turned in the second set.

While Petkovic had not been able to generate a single break point at the outset of the match, it was a completely different player who came out to face Fernandez once the hostilities resumed. In a scenario almost identical to the one in the first set, the German fought back brilliantly, breaking in the fourth game and returning the favour to the Laval native with a 6-1 score in set two.

Having visibly rekindled her inner flame, Petkovic, who hasn’t won a main draw match at a WTA tournament since February, seemed determined to put an end to this poor stretch of play. She broke Fernandez in the first game of the final set to take a 2-0 lead. However, the 19-year-old Canadian had not said her final word. Known on the Tour for her quiet strength and multiple comebacks, she patiently closed the gap by winning the next three games to take the lead.

The battle continued until the end of the match, with both players offering exceptional tennis to the fans in the stands. The last three games alone had more than 30 points, proof of the tight battle that took place between the two protagonists. However, after failing to convert two match points at 5-4, Fernandez ultimately capitalized on a fatal error by her rival to seal the outcome of the match.

After more than two hours of play with multiple twists and turns, we could finally shout loud and clear: GAME, SET, AND MATCH… FERNANDEZ!

Fernandez will now face world no. 35 Jill Teichmann of Switzerland, who advanced to the second round thanks to a 6-3, 7-5 win over Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic. A quarter-finalist at the Dubai Duty Free Championships, she has an overall record of eight wins and nine losses in 2022. She also has a perfect record against Fernandez, defeating her 7-6 (4), 6-4 in a Billie Jean King Cup tie between Canada and Switzerland in 2020.