Leylah Fernandez beat Amanda Anisimova 6-3 4-6 6-3 to progress through to the quarter-finals of the French Open.
The 17th seed Fernandez set the tempo immediately with an excellent opening service game, and followed it up with two early breaks as she built up a rapid 4-0 lead.
Anisimova, who had made a number of unforced errors, did well to find her composure, grabbing two breaks back and won her first service game of the afternoon to reduce the deficit to 5-3.
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The momentum shift didn’t last long, however, as Fernandez saw out the opening set in 32 minutes courtesy of a nervy hold.
The final few games of the first set gave Anisimova hope for the second and she comfortably held in the opener to raise her confidence further.
Anisimova saved a couple of break points in the third game to crucially hold service. She was beginning to shine and took authority of the set, pulling her North American rival around the court to back up a break with a rampant love hold and bring up 4-1 as Fernandez’s errors mounted up.
Fernandez fended off another potential break with a spectacular drop shot and found her rhythm again to break back to love and move to within a game of her opponent.
But a topsy-turvy set was claimed by Anisimova 6-4 as the American delivered a crucial blow on her second set point to break and force the decider.
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There was a flashpoint in the second game of the third set as Anisimova contested an umpire’s decision, with Fernandez ultimately wriggling back from 0-40 to secure the hold and drag herself onto the board.
Service was held until Fernandez hit a purple patch to break her opponent and take a 3-2 lead in the final set.
The game seemed to be getting away from Anisimova when she threw her racquet in frustration as Fernandez grabbed a massive hold in a defining sixth game, and she had words with her coach after reducing the deficit at 4-3.
A mishit at the return of serve heightened Anisimova’s exasperation as Fernandez moved to within a game of a match win, and the Canadian completed the job with yet another break to prevail after one hour and 54 minutes.
“Yeah, I’m [very happy]," Fernandez said in her post-match interview, as former Arsenal and France great Thierry Henry looked on from the stands.
"It was a very tricky match, [as] Amanda is a great player, so I’m very happy to have won and played as well as I did… and I’m also very glad [to have won] in front of Thierry Henry… thank you [Thierry], for coming out and watching me!
“The crowd encouraged me [and spurred me on], so thank you to all for coming out and supporting me.
“Of course the crowd helped me a lot; I just had to accept the situation [of the match], stay positive [and concentrated], taking each point as it came, especially in the second and third sets, trying to find the solution.
“I worked hard for a long time, even before [playing] the juniors. I dreamed of played here on Philippe-Chatrier in front of [the French crowd]; and it’s been great fun to play here and [a real pleasure] to be able to play here.”
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