February 29, 2024

Open Court


One and done for Leylah Fernandez in Miami

MIAMI, Fla. – After the high of defendiing her WTA title in Monterrey, It’s been a challenging “Sunshine Double” for top Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

Indian Wells wasn’t too, too bad. After getting a retirement from Amanda Anisimova (who had served for the match) and beating Shelby Rogers, Fernandez lost to Paula Badosa in the round of 16.

The fact that Badosa has a chance to becoming the new world No. 1 this week makes that an acceptable loss, even if the match itself was mostly a matter of Badosa simply overpowering her.

But Fernandez couldn’t go a little further in her first career Miami Open.

In a match that featured a fair bit of tennis craft despite a tough wind, Fernandez fell to Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic, 6-4 7-6 (3) in a two-set match that took two hours, 13 minutes.

Here’s what it looked like.

Early exit in quality effort

Muchova is back at her first tournament since last year’s US Open, as she deals with a long-term abdominal issue that has proven very tricky to fix.

She defeated countrywoman Tereza Martincova in her first round, before posting this impressive victory. But the rust is there – Fernandez was able to break Muchova twice, when she attempted to serve out the match in the second set.

That says a lot about Fernandez’s mettle. Which perhaps is why she was able to be fairly philosophical afterwards.

Here she is discussing it with Open Court.

First Miami Open a tough one

It’s a bit nuts for a player who has reached a Grand Slam final and has two WTA titles to only now be playing her first Miami Open.

But the rise was fairly quick for Fernandez

A year ago, with the scheduled rejigged a bit because of the pandemic, Fernandez had to hustle right from winning her first career title in Monterrey all the way to Miami – to try to play the qualifying.

It was a lot to ask of her.

She was ranked No. 88 going into Monterrey, and No. 72 after she held up the trophy. But it wasn’t soon enough to get straight into the draw. And the Miami Open (and its owners, IMG) weren’t in a position to give her a main draw wild card (even had they been so inclined), because they had all been distributed.

She did get there. And gave it her all, but ended up losing 6-4, 6-2 to Mihaela Buzarnescu in the first round.

Fernandez is still in the doubles. She takes to the court Friday, having received a wild card with American Ingrid Neel.

After that, the move to clay begins as she will play the Charleston event on Har-Tru the week after the end of the Miami Open.

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