Leylah Annie Fernandez will be the first to admit it: her second-round match was within reach. Sometimes giant, sometimes short, the Quebecer played with dignity and fiercely against qualified Clara Tauson on Wednesday, even though she lost in three sets of 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
It is complex to find positive in a defeat, whatever it is. Especially in tennis, in a Grand Slam tournament. A setback is final. The athlete packs his bags for his next destination, leaving behind a tournament still too young and the possibility, however small, of making history.
Leylah Annie Fernandez knows all the flavor of a long adventure in a major tournament. She tasted it. She has already made it to the dessert, in the final, less than two years ago at the United States Open. Since then, every tournament is almost disappointing if she leaves the table before making it to the final stage.
The left-hander had every reason to be confident for her second match, against Tauson. The Dane is lower ranked, ranked 127th in the world, she was a qualifier, so she had played almost four hours more since arriving in France, and despite their identical ages, Fernandez could draw on a lot more. experience.
True to form, the 20-year-old Quebecer was combative and spirited. She took a while to get going, but even though she was down 4-0 in the first set, she came back in the game, up 4-3. Tauson spun with the round, but Fernandez offered a sublime range of shots. She used a variety of attacks, like drop shots. It’s been a while since Fernandez has been this much in control of his various ammunition.
The main question mark regarding the 49th player in the world in her first game was on her serve. She picked up her ball throw countless times and the result was often insufficient.
In this match, she served well. On his first balls in particular, passing 73% of them. His statistics in the second ball are less brilliant. Particularly in the first set, where she won just 2 of her 13 second serve points.
Nevertheless, generally speaking, Fernandez has done very well. The result is obviously disappointing for the one who reached the quarter-finals last year. However, its resistance in hot moments is encouraging for the rest of the season.
The only problem in this game for Fernandez was Clara Tauson.
Both offensively and defensively, she was brilliant.
Conversely, her work in defense meant that for the Canadian, the field seemed narrower. Even if she tried to outflank her and make her run from east to west, Tauson had the answers to everything. Leaving Fernandez puzzled more than once.
Despite back trouble and a frustrating and uneven end to the second run, Tauson found his ease in the final run. The Dane was having a good day. And Fernandez bails, once again, despite a dignified and reassuring battle.
We expected nothing from Denis Shapovalov on the sidelines of the second major tournament of the season. His career has been in circles for several seasons and clay is the surface on which he is least comfortable. At Roland-Garros, he never passed the second round.
However, he’s been doing pretty well since the start of the fortnight. Dashing against Brandon Nakashima, however, his play was very “shapovalesque”. That is to say, not very chic, but ridiculously effective.
He had an appointment with Matteo Arnaldi on Wednesday on court number 12. The 106th player in the world offered honest opposition to the Canadian, but Shapovalov won 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and 6- 3.
Shapovalov was quick in the first set, winning it within minutes.
The Italian, visibly whipped, came back to life in the second set. If he accumulated the attacks and the varieties of blows, Shapovalov, him, seemed extinct.
He rejected all of his opponent’s attacks right in the middle, completely on the defensive. Obviously, this strategy was in contrast to the aggressive nature of the southpaw. He dropped the set 3-6.
The second part of the meeting, on the other hand, was fully to his advantage. Shapovalov excelled in different phases of the game and despite all his good will, Arnaldi was simply unable to maintain the pace, but especially to find solutions as had been the case in the second set.
He won the next two sets 6-3.
The good news for him is that he passes the second round for the first time in his career at Porte d’Auteuil. The bad news is that he will cross swords with Carlos Alcaraz, world number one, in the next round.
Shapovalov is capable of great things. When he’s in full control, he can beat just about anyone. However, Alcaraz will not be easy prey to hunt. The two players have never faced each other, but the Spaniard already has a head start, given the context, the surface, his already rich experience and obviously his talent.