Photo : Martin Sidorjak
Sunday was opening day at the 2021 French Open and Leylah Fernandez gave Canadian fans reason for early excitement.
As the lone Canadian in action on day one, the 18-year-old from Montreal had the spotlight to herself and put on a show, winning her first-round match convincingly over Anastasia Potapova 6-2, 6-1 in only 59 minutes.
Returning to the site of her best run at a major, Fernandez, who reached the third round in Paris last fall, looked comfortable right from the first ball and was in control the entire match, breaking serve five times while never facing a break point.
Fernandez was ready to go from the start and wasted little time finding her rhythm. Her consistent, clean ball striking rewarded her with a break to love in the third game for an early advantage.
While the Canadian was playing with consistency, Potapova was not. Errors were flying off the Russian’s racket and she handed the double break to Fernandez two games later with back-to-back errors from deuce, part of a run of five straight games for the Canadian.
The second set mirrored the first, as Fernandez broke again to love in the third game and added another for a 4-1 lead.
This time, the Canadian teen completed the sweep, winning six straight games after Potapova held to start the second set, breaking for a third time and sealing the match with a forehand winner.
It was a clean match from the 2019 Junior French Open champion, who only committed six unforced errors and won 74 percent of her service points. She also struck 17 winners, while Potapova committed 20 unforced errors to only 16 winners.
Fernandez awaits the winner between Oceane Dodin and 23rd seed Madison Keys in the second round.
Bianca Andreescu is the lone Canadian in action on Monday, taking on Tamara Zidansek.