In a spectacular evening of tennis on Arthur Ashe stadium where Carlos Alcaraz upset the third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, defending champion and third seed Naomi Osaka too had to bite the dust in the hands of yet another teenager, Leylah Fernandez. The 18-year old Canadian beat the 4-time grand slam champion in three thrilling sets 5-7,7-6(2),6-4 to advance into the second week of a major for the first time.
The match was tight right from the start with both players holding serve well. Osaka wasn’t playing her best tennis but was doing enough to hold serve. Fernandez too managed to hold serve well by hitting timely winners and kept her error count low. But it was Osaka who had the last laugh as she broke late in the first set to win it 7-5.
The second set was on the same note as the first. Keeping the risk count low, both players held serve well and no one was taking undue risk. The storyline looked similar as Naomi broke Fernandez late and was serving for the match at 6-5. But the Canadian teen proved her mettle and broke back immediately and forced a tiebreaker.
Osaka was suddenly hitting a lot of unforced errors, especially on the forehand, and was visibly frustrated on court. She lost her cool and bounced her racket a couple of times in the tiebreaker, inviting boos from the crowd. The Canadian lost just two points in the tiebreaker and forced a decider.
Leylah Fernandez had all the momentum going into the third set and the crowd’s backing boosted her confidence. She broke Osaka upfront and took a decisive 2-0 lead. The Japanese tried her best to stage a comeback but Fernandez showed nerves of steel to hold onto the lead and serve out the set 6-4. It was the biggest win of her career and she will now face Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.