On one of the biggest stages tennis has to offer, against one of its greatest competitors, Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez rose to meet the moment.
After forcing a deciding set in dramatic fashion, Fernandez stunned Naomi Osaka, defeating the reigning US Open champion in the event’s third round.
The win, arguably the biggest of 18-year-old Fernandez’s young career and one of the most stunning upsets in Canadian tennis history, did not come easily.
Osaka and was holding serve for a straight sets victory before 73rd-ranked Fernandez broke the two-time US Open champion for the first time, forcing a tiebreak — and that’s when Osaka started to unravel.
Fernandez took advantage of multiple unforced errors from Osaka en route to the decisive third set, where the teenager from Laval, Que., held serve for the win before pumping her fist towards fans that cheered louder for her on every late point.
Here’s how those around the sports world beyond the stadium reacted.
A STUNNER IN ASHE!
teenager Leylah Fernandez knocks off defending champion Naomi Osaka in three sets. pic.twitter.com/Sf61oFupub
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 4, 2021
Could this be Canada’s tournament?
Here’s the moment Leylah Annie Fernandez upset the reigning US Open champ. pic.twitter.com/Px9sJtcwc3
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) September 4, 2021
Back to back wins for the teenagers tonight.
The future is bright for our sport.
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 4, 2021
.@TennisCanada is on a
18-year-old Canadian, Leylah Fernandez, from Laval, Quebec upset defending #USOpen champion Naomi Osaka.
— Donnovan Bennett (@donnovanbennett) September 4, 2021
— Milos Raonic (@milosraonic) September 4, 2021
I saw that! So humbling to hear her say I inspired her. She’s a great player. Gotennis! https://t.co/bZbm1urLz7
— Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) September 4, 2021
— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) September 4, 2021