Laval’s Leylah Annie Fernandez, just 14, qualifies at $25K ITF event

It’s not a name that has gotten much attention because, at this point, she doesn’t appear to be part of the Canadian national training centre program.

But 14-year-old Laval native Leylah Annie Fernandez accomplished something pretty impressive over the last few days, in only her second pro-level event.

Fernandez won three qualifying rounds – the last one in a third-set tiebreak – to reach the main draw at the $25,000 ITF event in Jackson, Mississippi.

Janssen is a 33-year-old former college player who is one of those women who enters a lot of these ITF events and gets crushed in the first round.  Kobelt is a 25-year-old Syracuse University graduate who is currently ranked in the top 300 in doubles. Rompies, from Indonesia, is an experienced 26-year-old who reached a career high of No. 413 in singles in 2011 and is currently is ranked No. 257 in doubles. In 2008, she was the No. 11 junior in the world in the ITF rankings.

All of which to say, every opponent was significantly older and had significantly more experience. So that’s a great run.

Fernandez is a product of the academy at Tennis 13, north of Laval. She also reportedly trains with a South American coach on the courts at Uniprix Stadium, where the national centre is located. We’re told she was part of the national program last year for kids in her age group, but that her results were judged not good enough for her to remain. Clearly she has improved by leaps and bounds since them, and is proving them wrong this week. Here’s a little piece in the local Montreal newspaper The Suburban about her.

(UPDATE: Fernandez’s run ended Thursday with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to No. 1 seed Alla Kudryavtseva, a 29-year-old with a lot of WTA experience who is playing her first tournament after a six-month injury layoff).

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