Canada’s Fernandez, Auger-Aliassime move on to 4th round at French Open

Canadians Leylah Fernandez and Felix Auger-Aliassime have qualified for the fourth round of Roland-Garros.

Fernandez, a 19-year-old Montrealer, outlasted Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 on the main court at Roland Garros on Friday.

This is the first time that 2021 US Open runner-up Fernandez has made it past the third round in Paris.

The 17th-seeded Fernandez smashed Bencic in game 11 of the deciding set and served the match. She had saved two set points in the first game.

“It was an amazing fight and I think today was just about trusting my game when it mattered the most,” Fernandez said. “I’m happy that I was able to trust him enough to go on and keep executing the game plan.”

Fernandez will next face 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who reached the Roland Garros semi-finals in 2019.

WATCH | Fernandez passes to the 4th round at Roland-Garros:

Fernandez reaches the round of 16 at Roland Garros for the first time in his career

17th seed Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., beat 14th seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 to advance to the round of 16 at Roland Garros .

Anisimova, the No. 27 seed, moved forward when Karolina Muchova stopped playing after injuring her right ankle. Anisimova was leading 6-7(7), 6-2, 3-0 when Muchova conceded.

Fernandez and Anisimova have only faced each other once on the WTA Tour in Indian Wells in March, when the American pulled out abruptly after losing a second-set tiebreak.

Anisimova knocked out four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka in the first round.

Fernandez said she is always looking forward to testing herself against other young players on the circuit.

“I think it’s great for the sport,” she said of the youth showdown. “We can bring more young fans into tennis to enjoy the matches and hopefully they can pick up a tennis racket.

“I think it’s great to see that we are all improving every year. We continue to play against the best players in the world here and we can [hold] our own.”

The best result for a Canadian in the French Open singles draw came in 2014 when Eugenie Bouchard reached the semi-finals.

In men’s singles, 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime beat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7-5. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces in the three-hour game.

“I expected a tough game today and it was,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But at the end of the day, I was serving really well… [it] was a good performance today.”

The ninth-seeded Montreal native will next face fifth-seeded Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Auger-Aliassime is coached by Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime reaches the round of 16 at Roland Garros:

Auger-Aliassime qualified for the round of 16 at Roland-Garros

No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal beat Serbian Filip Krajinovic 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 7-5 to advance to the French Open Round of 16 for the first time in his career.

“I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the game,” Auger-Aliassime added. “For me, it’s another game and another opportunity to try to play a good game and win. But of course it’s very difficult.”

Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion, advanced to the fourth round by defeating Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

“I’m sure that even though [Toni] works with another player, I think for him it’s going to be difficult for him to want me to lose,” Nadal said when asked about his uncle in a TV interview on Friday.

Djokovic records another victory in three sets

Defending champion Novak Djokovic recorded another straight-set victory and will face Diego Schwartzman for a quarter-final spot at Roland Garros.

Top-ranked Djokovic beat Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 at Court Philippe Chatrier in 1 hour and 44 minutes – the fastest of his three wins.

Schwartzman’s 0-6 record against Djokovic includes a five-setter in the third round of the 2017 French Open. The Argentine is seeded 15th.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t lost in the third round at Roland Garros since 2009.

Begu fined after bouncing racket into crowd

A French Open player has been fined $10,000 by the tournament after she threw her racquet and it bounced on the clay court and in the stands during a match.

Irina-Camelia Begu, a 31-year-old Romanian seeded 63rd, was cited for unsportsmanlike conduct in the third set of her victory over 30th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the second round at Court 13.

The game was Thursday. The fine was handed down on Friday.

After losing a point, Begu walked to the sideline and threw her racquet, which flew past chair umpire Anis Ressaissi’s seat, landing among the spectators seated at the edge of the pitch. There were gasps from fans and a child could be heard crying.

Tournament referee Remy Azemar said the equipment “hit a young spectator”, who “turned out to be OK”.

In other matches:

  • Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens beat French teenager Diane Parry 6-2, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at Roland Garros. The American was a runner-up in 2018 after winning the title at Flushing Meadows the previous year. Stephens will face No. 23 Jil Teichmann, who advanced by beating two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5).

  • Third seed and last year’s semi-finalist, Alexander Zverev reached the fourth round winning 7-6(2) 6-3 7-6(5) over American Brandon Nakashima. The German, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo last year, will be contesting the fourth round in Paris for the fifth consecutive year.

  • Coco Gauff reached the fourth round of Roland-Garros by beating Kaia Kanepi. Gauff, 18, the youngest woman remaining in the draw, beat Kanepi, 36, the oldest woman remaining, 6-3, 6-4. The young American is trying to improve her quarter-final run at Roland Garros a year ago.

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