If we were the youngest player in 16 years to make it to the US Open semifinals – and the youngest since Serena Williams in 1999 to beat two top-five-ranked WTA players at the same major – we’d be ecstatic, too! Leylah Fernandez, who just turned 19, had achieved those feats on Sept. 7 when she won her 2021 US Open quarterfinal through a tiebreak against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina (then Emma Raducanu, even younger than Fernandez at 18, made it to her own semifinal match the following day and took over that first history-making accomplishment). Fernandez’s reaction to her victory spoke volumes: she fell to her knees, overcome by emotion. It makes sense given that the best the Canadian has done in Grand Slam singles is a third-round finish. Watch that incredible moment ahead, and see it captured in powerful photos as well.
“I was only thinking of trusting myself, trusting my game,” Fernandez said in a post-match press conference. “After every point, win or lose, I would always tell myself, ‘Trust my game, go for my shots, and just see where the ball goes.'” Next up, she has the semifinals tonight, Sept. 9, at 7 pm ET. Are you ready to watch?