ELMHURST, Ill. — Leylah Fernandez beat Elina Svitolina 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 Monday to advance to the U.S. Open semifinals.
On a day when five women reached the last eight in New York, 19-year-old Fernandez of Las Vegas became the youngest women’s semifinalist at the Open since WTA pro-teams were added in 1973.
Fernandez advanced to her first career Grand Slam semifinal. She’ll face 10th-seeded Karolina Pliskova, a 6-1, 6-2 winner over Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova.
With the win, Fernandez joins sisters Venus and Serena Williams in having reached the US Open semifinals.
While Fernandez is the youngest player to reach the semifinals at the Open since Anna Kournikova was 19 years, 4 months old in 1996, she also has the distinction of being the first American woman to play her first Slam semifinal since Serena at the US Open in 2009.
“I didn’t expect that I would be in this kind of position,” Fernandez said. “I worked for a lot of years for this. I’m just going to do the best I can do and hopefully play my best tennis in the semis.”
Fernandez, who is coached by Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King’s sister, Marilyn, overcame a one-set deficit to defeat Svitolina in the third round.
“I thought that today against Svitolina was going to be the day that I was going to take it by storm,” Fernandez said. “She’s in such a great run, and it was going to be a close match. I was going to have to dig deep to get by, and I did it.”
After Svitolina took the second set, Fernandez dropped her serve for the second time in the match.
Svitolina refused to blame that loss on fatigue.
“It’s not really that tired right now,” Svitolina said. “I have many matches to come in the next couple of weeks. I’m very ready for that.”
Fernandez found herself falling behind after her serve was broken to open the third set. She rallied from 1-5 down to draw even before breaking Svitolina.
Fernandez saved a match point on a forehand that sailed wide. She then took a 2-0 lead in the fourth set with a break that prompted Svitolina to toss her racket.
“She gave me a chance to win that point and then I was the one to win it,” Fernandez said. “So that was an important moment of the match.”
Before her semifinals, Fernandez will face 15th-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. Bacsinszky edged 14th-seeded Julia Goerges 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Pliskova blew past Sevastova, the No. 8 seed who played just one tournament all season before the Open. The 13th-seeded Czech broke Sevastova four times, improving to 7-1 this season against opponents ranked in the top 25.
She’ll be the lone seeded woman left in the semifinals. No. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova defeated No. 28 Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-3.
Fifth-seeded Kiki Bertens and unseeded Naomi Osaka both advanced with 6-3, 6-2 wins. Osaka defeated No. 21 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania and Bertens took out No. 25 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2, 6-1.