There are no more French people at the US Open. On the other hand, there are still two Canadians – Félix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Annie “LA” Fernandez – in the last four, and they set Flushing Meadows on fire enough to hit a word or two. The first city, already known to the informed public, took advantage of the abandonment of the hype of the male table, Carlos Alcaraz, to pass the quarters. As for the second, out of almost nowhere, she was defeated in three sets of the last semi-representative of France, Elina Svitolina, adding another big name to her hunting roster in New York. Together, they intend to offer their country the most important title since that of the Raptors in the NBA, two years ago.
FAA, the milestone finally crossed
It’s been a few years since Félix Auger-Aliassime was announced at the top of world tennis. So much so that we could be wrong about his age. 23, 24 years old? At all. At only 21 years old, the Canadian is following in the footsteps of an illustrious elder as he became the youngest semi-finalist of the US Open since Juan Martin del Potro, a few days after establishing himself as the youngest in to have chained two quarterfinals of Grand Slam since the golden age of the Argentinian. It is perhaps necessary to give more importance to this second statistic. One shot in major, there have always been. Regularity is more precious. And if Daniil Medvedev, his illustrious opponent in the next round, will be his first big opponent of the fortnight (Alcaraz could not offer him the long-awaited fight), FAA will have had the merit of not getting stuck in the carpet so far.
🖋️ Age at the end of the tournament. pic.twitter.com/TY4J2URQ0b
– Game, Set and Maths (@JeuSetMaths) September 8, 2021
We don’t think we are much wrong in thinking that LA Fernandez’s course remains too light to merit a Hollywood adaptation, but the story remains beautiful. Leylah Fernandez (an ATP 250 title to her credit) has been performing well since the start of the fortnight. She first sent Naomi Osaka on sabbatical before giving herself another comeback, against Angelique Kerber. Facing Svitolina, it was she who was almost overthrown: after first leading by a set and then by a double-break in the last round, the young Canadian saw the Ukrainian pounce on her. But she recovered in time to win the tie-break and the bet with it. To reach the final, she will have to take a new number out of her hat: the No. 2 seed, Sabalenka, will stand in front of her.
Toni Nadal, the providential man of Auger-Aliassime
The FAA’s progress strangely coincides with the arrival of a notable reinforcement in its staff, Toni Nadal. Rafa’s uncle landed in the spring and makes himself available at every major tournament where he gives his precious advice to the Canadiens. The latter spoke this week about the importance of the presence of the Spaniard by his side.
“I think he helped me maybe improve the consistency of my game, the quality of my movements, my concentration. I mainly think the great thing overall is the conviction and trust that he brings to myself and everyone involved in my team. […] Toni brings us his vision, he reassures us, explains to us that it is possible, that we can do good things if we work in the right direction. “
Fernandez, the double to keep your feet on the ground
Suddenly being in the limelight, “the first few days, it was really a bit difficult,” admitted Fernandez. “I was very lucky to have doubles matches the next day to keep my feet on the ground. Now I feel like I’m a little more used to it. “That’s good, because since Monday and her elimination alongside Elin Routtlife, she no longer has a doubles match. “I have a great team around me which helps me to keep a cool head and to think only of my next game, without dwelling on all the good things that happen to me”, she said assured, leaving the impression that deep down it is not that difficult.