March 20, 2023

Open Court


On a long Monday in the desert, Leylah Fernandez’s Indian Wells ends (vid)

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Leylah Fernandez’s day started very early, with a warmup before a scheduled 11 a.m. match on the stadium court against No. 5 seed Caroline Garcia.

It ended after 8 p.m. with a media interview. So more than 12 hours – including a three-set loss to Garcia.

And then, after a slow start but a nice rally, a loss in the match tiebreak to the No. 1 doubles team in the world with partner Taylor Townsend.

So Fernandez’s Indian Wells is over.

As she said, the positive was that she got to play tennis in a beautiful stadium and with a lot of fans support.

Still … Fernandez played some quality tennis against Garcia, whom she met for the first time in the second round of the Australian Open in January.

That match was close as well. This time, she took a set in a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1 defeat that petered out in the end. She was definitely not happy on the way out, which speaks to her confidence that she can play well enough to beat the Frenchwoman on the day.

Here’s what she said afterwards.

After that tough defeat, there was doubles.

Fernandez and Townsend planned the Sunshine Double doubles in Australia. And there’s a lot to like about this duo.

They defeated Latisha and Hao-Ching Chan in two close sets in the first round. And after an absolutely error-filled start Monday against No. 1s Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, they picked up their level nicely.

They led in the match tiebreak, too. Only in the end their opponents were just too solid.

Here’s some of what it looked like.

Fernandez will now head to Miami – which is actually home now, as the family has moved south from Boynton Beach.

So the Miami Open, in a sense, is kind of a home tournament

It appears the 20-year-old will find herself outside the top 50, having dropped to No. 49 last Monday after the points from her 2022 title in Monterrey fell off. She made the round of 16 a year ago at Indian Wells, so will concede another five spots or so in the rankings.

The tennis hasn’t been bad at all – at times, it’s been very good. The draws have been challenging and now that the ranking has dropped, the odds of meeting a top-ranked player earlier in the tournaments grows.

There’s a little bit of rebuilding to do. But plenty of time to do it. And Fernandez has almost nothing to defend in Miami.

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