Leila Fernandez and Coco Gaufi advance to the French Open

Paris – This is a new season and a different surface, but Leila Fernandez, still persistent and still a teenager, is back at the deep end of another Grand Slam tournament.

He needed all his supplies and optimistic energy on this unreasonably cold Sunday afternoon at Roland Garros.

Amanda Anisimova, a 27-year-old American seeded 27, is one of the greatest clean players in women’s tennis, capable of generating phenomenal tempo with a seemingly random shot from a rocket.

This season he has a new model that has helped him control his simple power. The 17th seeded Fernandez spent almost two hours digging in the corners and tried to get back, but in the end, the counterattacker defeated the puncher 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 because of Fernandez’s agility, consistency and yes I can. The positivity made little difference as he advanced to the French Open in the first quarter-finals.

“He is very abusive,” Fernandez said. I was just trying to be as aggressive as he was and use my chances and the balls into the day.

This is not a coincidence at this point. Fernandez, a 19-year-old Canadian, looks like a big-stage player and was probably part of the biggest surprise in tennis history when he and another undefeated teenager, Emma Raducanu, reached the US Open final with Raducanus last year. Qualifying, winning straight sets.

The rest of the women’s field has certainly been taken into account.

“I think, especially if the US Open has taught us something that anyone can win any day,” said Coco Gauff, an 18-year-old American seeded 18th at Roland Garros.

Gauff had one of the best matches of the week, defeating No. 31 seed Elise Mertens 6-4, 6-0 and returning to the quarter-finals of the French Open where he lost last year to a mistaken match with defending champion Barbora Kreichikova. Gauff is one of the biggest disappointments of his short career as he has managed to score the most important points.

“I think it was the biggest lesson I learned in my quarterfinals last year,” Gauf said. “I had several set points and I think I got angry when some of these points did not come out. I was not angry today. ”

Instead, he gathered strength and showed increased patience on clay, often competing in lengthy competitions with Mertens until he was about to win (or hit the net).

Apparently, his work on himself and his new coach, Diego Moiano, pays dividends, and Gaufi then meets one of Moiano’s former students, Sloane Stephen, in an all-American, intergenerational duel.

Stevens, 29, is undecided this year, but has long flourished on clay and was a French Open finalist in 2018. On Sunday, he defeated Jill Teichmann 6-2, 6-0. Stephens defeated Gauf 6-4, 6-2 in the second round of last year’s US Open when they first played on tour. But this was not the first meeting. Both are based in South Florida, and Stephens attended Gaufi’s 10-year-old birthday party and first trained with Gaufi when Gaufi was 12 years old and was already planning to confront Stephens on much larger stages.

“I have had a very competitive mindset since I was a child,” Gauf said. “Yes, I watched him and everything, but I knew I was going to play against him.”

For those who followed Cinderella’s stories in the duel, Fernandez and Raducanu will be forever connected, but even though they were both sown here in Paris, they have not been on parallel trails since New York.

None approached the regular tour by storm. This is reserved for only slightly older players: new No. 1 Iga Sviatek, who has won 31 games in a row at the age of 20 and remains a taboo favorite at Roland Garros, where he himself was the undisputed champion in teens in 2020.

Although Radukanu has signed a number of important contracts and changed coaches, he has yet to overcome the quarter-finals of the regular round event after the US Open. Fernandez has often lost before, but he defended the title in March in Monterey, Mexico and now best runs in Paris, with a wonderful chance of going further, given that he will face Italian Martina Trevisan in a rare match. Quarterfinal between leftists Roland Garros.

Fernandez said he put a lot of pressure on himself to succeed after the US Open final.

“I just wanted to be more aggressive, more aggressive and improve the game as quickly as possible,” he said. “I think I just realized that it is a process and it is still a long year, a very long year and I just have to calm down, calm my mind. And just accept that everything will be difficult, everything will go hand in hand in the match, in practice. And just understand that I have more tools in my toolbox that I can use and just find solutions. ”

This last sentence sounds as if he was studying a book of phrases by Rafael Nadal, and on the court is indeed Nadal’s touch in Fernandez. He is also a fast left winger with non-ordinary technique. Nadal has his last-whipped fin on the forehand; Fernandez has his own extreme grips and often hits two-sided backhands with his hands away from each other.

Is also intangible: instant combat; A firm walk between the points and the established rituals. Anisimova may want to make a few remarks considering her long-term propensity for negativity. He often smiled at his mistakes on Sunday, mocked his own shots, and in frustration flew a racket on the red clay in the final set, to the sound of several scattered beeches from the stands that were never half full at the main Chatrier Court. .

Fernandez was more restrained and focused. Even if his game was a flickering flame, it was not his obligation.

“Every time I go to court, I have something to prove,” he said. “I still think that I am of poor quality. I’m still young. I still have a lot of tracks for people, for the community, to make them just enjoy a tennis match.

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