Fernandez advances to Madrid Open quarterfinals with doubles partner Taylor Townsend


Leylah Fernandez is showing well in doubles play in Madrid following a quick exit last week from the women’s singles tournament.

The native of Laval, Que., and American partner Taylor Townsend downed Georgian athlete Oksana Kalashnikov and Yana Sizikova of Russia 7-5, 6-3 in a round of 32 match on Monday.

Fernandez and Townsend will face Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei of and Barbora Strýcová of the Czech Republic in a Tuesday quarterfinal.

Fernandez and Townsend came up short in their title bid at the Miami Open last month, dropping a 7-6(6), 6-2 decision to the second-seeded American duo of Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula in the final.

It marked Fernandez’s second WTA doubles final of the season and second of her young career. She finished as the runner-up at the year’s first event in Auckland alongside Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Fernandez and Townsend debuted as a team in March with a round of 16 showing at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and later played in Charleston, S.C.

On Sunday, Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani defeated Erika Andreeva and Mirra Andreeva 6-3, 7-5 in second-round action.

Fernandez was eliminated from the Madrid Open in singles action last Wednesday after a 6-3, 6-4 first-round loss to 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva.

The Russian teen, ranked 194th in the world, needed just one hour 16 minutes to upset the 49th-ranked Fernandez, the 2021 U.S. Open finalist.

WATCH | Fernandez ousted by Russian teen Andreeva in Madrid:

Leylah Fernandez makes a quick exit from the Madrid Open

Montreal’s Leylah Fernandez is shocked by 16 year Russian Mirra Andreeva who defeats Fernandez 6-3, 6-4 in round 1 of the Madrid Open.

Sabalenka ends 16-year-old’s run

Andreeva’s impressive run at the Madrid Open came to an end with a loss to second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka on Monday.

After three straight-set victories against top-40 opponents in her main-draw debut, the 16-year-old wild-card entry couldn’t get past Sabalenka in the fourth round, losing 6-3, 6-1 in her first centre-court appearance in the Spanish capital.

Andreeva became the youngest player to reach the last 16 of a WTA 1000 event after upsetting Fernandez in the first round, 14th-ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia in the second and 19th-ranked Magda Linette in the third.

She had won 16 straight matches at all levels before falling to Sabalenka, her first top-10 opponent.

“It was a great match. I’m really happy with the result,” the second-ranked Sabalenka said. “In the first few games I was just trying to adjust to her game and her rhythm. After that I started feeling my game a little bit better and started playing better.”

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion and 2021 Madrid Open winner, made it to the last eight in Madrid for the second time. She reached at least the quarterfinals in all seven tournaments she has played in 2023, carrying a 26-4 record for the year.

Her next opponent will be Mayar Sherif, who defeated 24th-seeded Elise Merten 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 after nearly three hours to become the first Egyptian to reach the quarterfinals of a WTA 1000 tournament.

Swiatek vying for quarterfinal berth

In other action, ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari reached the last eight by beating home-crowd favourite Paula Badosa 6-4, 6-4, while 12th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova defeated eighth-seeded Daria Kasatkina 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2).

Irina-Carnelia Begu upset 14th-seeded Liudmila Samsonov 6-4, 6-4 to earn her third win against a top-20 opponent in 2023. It will be her third quarterfinal appearance in Madrid.

Later, world No. 1 Iga Swiatek later faces 16th-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova for a spot in the quarterfinals.

On the men’s side, Daniil Medvedev had to come from a break down twice in the final set to reach the last 16 with a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 win over fellow Russian Alexander Shevchenko.

“He played well. He’s young, so I’m sure he’s going to [move] up the rankings, especially if he plays like in this tournament,” Medvedev said of the 96th-ranked Shevchenko, who was making his main-draw debut in Madrid after coming through qualifying.

The victory takes Medvedev to a tour-best 33-4 record this season. He will next face either Alex de Minaur or Aslan Karatsev.

The 22-year-old Shevchenko, who appeared to struggle with cramps toward the end of the match, took a 5-1 lead in the first set but went down 5-0 in the second. He then led 2-0 and 4-2 in the decisive set.

“I feel like I played pretty well in the second and third sets, and maybe the end of the first,” the third-ranked Medvedev said. “The thing about clay [is] usually it is tough for me to start matches for whatever reason. I need a lot of time to get used to everything that is happening on the court.

“The third set [I could] have been a bit better at crucial moments, or maybe a lot better. But finally, I won, so that counts also.”

This is the first time Medvedev has won consecutive matches in Madrid.

Elsewhere, eighth-seeded American Taylor Fritz defeated Cristian Garin 6-1, 7-6 (4), while fellow American Frances Tiafoe lost to Pedro Cachin 6-1, 7-6 (2). Jan-Lennard Struff defeated Dusan Lajovic 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-3.


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