Canadian tennis superstar Leylah Fernandez returned to competitive tennis at the National Bank Open (Rogers Cup) on Monday night, but was made to work by her opponent to advance to the second round.
The 2021 US Open runner-up required two hours and 41 minutes to get past Australian Storm Sanders, as she pulled off a frustrating 6-4 6-7(2) 6-3 victory.
After suffering a foot fracture in her quarterfinal match at this year's French Open, Fernandez was forced to miss Wimbledon as she took some time off to recuperate and prepare for the North American hard-court season. The 19-year old withdrew from last week's Citi Open Washington event, opting to return at her native tournament.
Competing in her first match in over two months, Fernandez was able to outplay Sanders in the first set. The Montreal native obtained a break point, which was enough for her to clinch the opening set.
“I was trying to will my way back to the tennis court, and my dad was saying, `No. Don’t do that." - Fernandez on her eagerness to return to tennis
Despite being a set down and facing a partisan crowd, Sanders began the second set with an early break to lead 2-0. However, Fernandez fought back and the set proceeded to a tiebreak. It was here that Sanders showed greater consistency, as the World No.273 remained poised to win the tiebreak.
The final set saw both ladies waste break point opportunities, but it was Fernandez who was able to capitalize on her third break point to establish a 4-3 lead. Although her service game was hindered by double faults, the 13th seed was able to close out the match and establish her return with a win.