Former US Open champion Angelique Kerber has paid tribute to rising star Leylah Fernandez after the teenager won their fourth-round clash.
After overcoming the third seed Osaka, Fernandez has now progressed past the 33-year-old German, who was seeded 16th at Flushing Meadows and was victorious on Arthur Ashe back in the 2016 showpiece.
Fernandez – Kerber – US Open Highlights
8 HOURS AGO
It was far from straightforward as Fernandez had to roar back to win 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 and Kerber was left in no doubt after the contest how much potential her opponent has in the game.
“If she plays like this, consistently plays the whole year, the next tournaments like this, the next rounds, I think she has a great future,” Kerber said after the match.
“She has a lot of power in her forehand and she’s going for her winners. I think she’s always also enjoying her tennis out there, it was a tough match.
I think she can go really far in the next few years.
“I have been through a long career with a lot of up-and-downs. It’s just experience you have to go through.
“Of course when you reach your first quarter-finals in a Grand Slam, it’s always a lot of emotions. She had nothing to lose today and I think she’s enjoying her tennis … it’s just a start of a great career.”
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Fernandez will next face another huge challenge as she prepares to take on fifth seed Elina Svitolina in the quarter-finals in New York.
“I was just glad I was having fun on the court,” Fernandez said in her on-court interview.
“I have been working hard since the day I started playing tennis and the day I set my mind to being a professional.
“I expected that one day my tennis game is going to come through and that I’m going to be on the big stage in front of a big crowd and getting the wins.”
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Source: Euro Sports