There were two Canadians still in action in Australian Open tune-up tournaments, as Leylah Annie Fernandez and Félix Auger-Aliassime took to the courts Thursday night (Friday afternoon Australia time).
Playing at the Murray River Open in Melbourne, Auger-Aliassime found himself up against World No. 80, Egor Gerasimov of Belarus, in his third round round match. After dropping the opening set, the Canadian raced off to an early lead in the second and brought the match to a decider.
In the third, Auger-Aliassime found himself up a break early-on, but was unable to maintain his lead. In such a tightly-disputed match-up, it was fitting to see it go the distance. After just over two hours of play, the Canadian overcame his opponent by a score of 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6).
Just a few hours later, in the quarter-finals, Auger-Aliassime faced Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic. The Canadian advanced to the semi-finals after his opponent retired from the match.
Competing in the Grampians Trophy, a WTA 500 event added to the calendar for players who were unable to practice during their quarantine in Australia, was the 18-year-old Fernandez. In her first round match, she swiftly ousted the world no. 40 Sloane Stephens in straight sets, defeating the 2017 US Open Champion player for already the third time in the last year.
In her second round match, Fernandez faced another tough challenge, taking on the No. 5 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece. The start of the opening set saw a great number of breaks, as both players struggled with their serves. Some crazy weather conditions definitely played a factor, as strong winds disrupted Fernandez and her opponent throughout the match.
After just under an hour and a half of play, the young Canadian fell 6-2, 6-2 to Sakkari and will now shift her focus on the first Grand Slam of the year, which is set to begin on February 8.