Leylah launches title retention campaign in Abierto GNP
February 28, 2022 | 3:08 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines — Leylah Fernandez hopes to put some semblance of fire and purpose into a season that has gone rather wobbly as she returns to the very site of her decisive win over Slovakia’s Anna Schmiedlova in the one of the featured matches kicking off the Abierto GNP Seguros 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico on Monday.
Fernandez reigned in style here last year, winning her first WTA championship without dropping a set in a triumph she capped with a 6-1, 6-4 win over qualifier Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland. She then reached the final of the US Women’s Open and although she failed to complete her Cinderella run, she still came out of the Slam the newest toast in women’s tennis for her incredible series of knockdowns against some of the biggest names in the event.
Now totaling the No. 21 world ranking, the Fil-Canadian will struggle to live up to her billing as she battles with her No. 88-ranked rival and at the same time snaps a streak of poor early-go finishes. of the season.
She withdrew in the Round of 16 from Adelaide International I and failed to pass the first round of the inaugural Slam, the Australian Open. She also didn’t have much success in doubles, with her partnership with Kiwi Erin Routliffe ending in a quarter-final in Adelaide and the Aussie Open Round of 64.
But second-seeded Fernandez is so determined to turn the tide this week, eager to show her form against Schmiedlova, a 5ft 9in campaigner with three singles titles who reached a career high of No. 26 in 2015.
The Slovak also took an early exit at the Australian Open and recently reached the quarter-finals of the Abierto Akron Zapopan.
Fernandez also teams up with her sister Bianca as they kick off their doubles campaign against France’s Elixane Lechemia and American Ingrid Neel in a round of 16 match on Tuesday.
Bianca, however, stumbled in qualifying, losing to Germany’s Jule Niemeier 3-6, 2-6 on Sunday.