Canada’s Leylah Fernandez eliminated from National Bank Open with straight-sets loss to Haddad Maia

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez was eliminated from the National Bank Open following a 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia on Wednesday.

Fernandez, the 13th seed in Toronto, was playing in her first tournament following a two-month layoff to recover from a stress fracture in her right foot she sustained at the French Open.

While Fernandez showed plenty of fight in the first set, she eventually seemed to wear against the powerful attack of her increasingly confident opponent.

After an encouraging start, Fernandez gave up the first break of the match to go down 3-2 in the opening set.

Leading 5-4, Haddad Maia converted her fourth ace of the match to give her set point. But Fernandez saved to bring the score to deuce, then converted her first break point to tie the set.

Haddad Maia restored her lead in the next game, finally converting on her fourth break point chance of the game to go up 6-5.

But again, the Brazilian couldn’t put the set away. A double-fault from Haddad Maia set up double break point for Fernandez, and the Canadian came out on top after a long rally to win the next point and force a tiebreak.

Haddad Maia proved too much for Fernandez in the extra session, using powerful strokes to keep the Canadian off-balance and taking a 6-3 tiebreak lead.

Fernandez saved another set point before Haddad Maia clinched it with a strong backhand to end a short rally.

Haddad Maia built on that momentum in the second set, converting an early break en route to a 3-0 lead.

Her second break of the set put Haddad Maia up 5-1, then she served to love in the final game to take the match.

No. 1 Swiatek cruises into 3rd round

Haddad Maia will next face world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who cruised into the third round with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Australian qualifier Ajla Tomljanovic.

Swiatek increased her hardcourt winning streak to 20 matches with a clinical performance, defeating Tomljanovic in just one hour four minutes.

‘The Polish star converted six of her nine break point chances as she connected on 26 of 37 return points (70.3 per cent).

In other early results, 10th seed Coco Gauff of the United States beat Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina 6-4, 6-7 (8), 7-6 (3). Defending champion Camila Giorgi of Italy downed Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3, 7-5. And seventh seed Jessica Pegula downed fellow American Asia Muhammad 6-2, 7-5.

Bianca Andreescu of Mississauga, Ont., the final Canadian left in the singles draw, was scheduled to face Alize Cornet of France in the final match on Centre Court. Andreescu won the tournament in 2019 when Serena Williams retired in the final match.

Williams was set to face Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic to kick the Centre Court evening session. Williams, a winner of 23 Grand Slams, is playing in Toronto a final time before retiring sometime after the U.S. Open.

Kyrgios downs Medvedev; Paul upsets Alcaraz 

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios upset top seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday at the National Bank Open.

Medvedev controlled the first-set tiebreaker after each player held serve for the first 12 games. Kyrgios opened the second set with a break and didn’t relinquish that advantage before controlling the deciding set.

Krygios, the world No. 37, won an ATP Tour title last week in Washington while Medvedev won in Los Cabos, Mexico.

Earlier, American Tommy Paul pulled off the first big upset of the tournament by dispatching second-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain 6-7 (4), 7-6 (7), 6-3.

Paul, the world No. 34, saved a match ball in the tiebreaker and converted his fifth match point in the deciding set. The second-round match lasted three hours 20 minutes.

Alcaraz, who was making his Canadian debut, fell to 15-3 in Masters 1000 tournaments this season. It was his first career meeting against Paul, who fought off a match ball in the tiebreaker.

In other early results, fourth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway defeated Alex Molcan of Slovakia 7-6 (3), 6-3 and eighth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Roberto Bautista Agut, the No. 14 seed from Spain, downed American Jenson Brooksby 7-5, 6-1 and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta topped Denmark’s Holger Rune 6-0, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime of Montreal was scheduled to play Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the evening. Auger-Aliassime is the only Canadian left in the 56-player singles draw.

In doubles play, Italy’s Jannik Sinner and Vasek Pospisil, a native of Vernon, B.C., were to open against the French duo of Benjamin Bonzi and Gael Monfils.

Calgary native Cleeve Harper and Liam Draxl of Newmarket, Ont., were to meet Italy’s Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

Play continues through Sunday at the US$6.57-million tournament.

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