Leylah Fernandez to Compete at This Year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals

Leylah Fernandez is gearin’ up for a special cup

The 19-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis sensation and U.S. Open finalist is among the players named to the 12 teams at next month’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

Leylah Fernandez

Fernandez will play for Canada in the competition.

But she isn’t the only Latina set to play in the Cup.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza will play for Spain along with Carla Suarez Navarro.

Meanwhile, Caroline Garcia is set to play for defending champion France, alongside her teammates Alize Cornet and Fiona Ferro, who were all part of the  group that won the event in 2019. The 2020 edition was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches will be played in Prague on Nov. 1-6.

The host Czech Republic will be led by 2021 French Open singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova.

She is joined by Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up and the 2020 Tokyo Games singles silver medalist, and Katerina Siniakova, who was Krejcikova’s doubles partner for three Grand Slam doubles titles and a gold medal at the Summer Games.

Sloane Stephens is joined by Jessica PegulaDanielle Collins, CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Dolehide on the U.S. roster.

Muguruza Advances to Her First Australian Open Quarterfinal

Garbiñe Muguruza is one step closer to another Grand Slam title.

The 23-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player has booked a maiden Australian Open quarterfinals berth, cruising to a straight-sets win over Romania’s Sorana Cirstea.

Garbiñe Muguruza

Muguruza, who defeated Serena Williams in the final of last year’s French Open, rarely looked troubled on her way to a 6-2, 6-3 victory in just more than an hour on Sunday night.

She’ll next face American Coco Vandeweghe, who beat world No. 1 Angelique Kerber.

“It was a very important match for me because this is the third time that I’m in the round of 16 and I never go through,” Muguruza said.

“It means a lot. I always come here very motivated. To be in the quarterfinals is such a great achievement and I’m so looking forward to keep winning.”

Muguruza was able to capitalize on 26 unforced errors from world No. 78 Cirstea, who sought a medical timeout during the second set for treatment of a wrist injury.

Muguruza said she had grown in confidence since claiming her first grand slam title at Roland Garros last year.

“I know grand slams are very important,” Muguruza said.

“When you win one, you have that self-confidence and that belief in yourself that you can do it again.”

Soares Makes History After Winning Two Australian Open Doubles Titles

Bruno Soares is seeing double

The 33-year-old Brazilian tennis player made history at this year’s Australian Open by winning two doubles championship matches.

Bruno Soares & Elena Vesnina

On Sunday afternoon, Soares added the mixed doubles title with Elena Vesnina to the men’s doubles championship he won with Jamie Murray.

Vesnina and Soares won the final four points of the match tiebreaker to take the mixed doubles title with a 6-4, 4-6, 10-5 win over American Coco Vandeweghe and Horia Tecau of Romania.

A little more than 16 hours earlier — after 1 a.m. Sunday — Soares and Murray defeated Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, also at Rod Laver Arena.

Bruno Soares & Jamie Murray

A Brazilian player had never won any title at the Australian Open. Now the country has two.

Soares said he didn’t finish media commitments at Melbourne Park until 2 a.m. Sunday then had to do some Brazilian press requests from his hotel room.

“I went to bed at 5, set my alarm for 11, woke up at 8:30 … been living on coffee ever since,” Soares said. “So I had 22 coffees already.”

Vesnina interjected, laughing: “I got a [text] message from him at 4:30 [a.m.], ‘I’m ready, partner.'”

It was all worth it, Soares said.

“I knew I had another important day today. You don’t get a chance to play many Grand Slam finals,” he said. “I mean, I got two in the same day.”

Soares said the level of excitement in Brazil over his achievements was high.

“It’s the first time a Brazilian guy competes in two Grand Slam finals in the same event,” he said. “They were talking a lot about that. And winning both makes it even more special.

“It’s tough to compare or relate anything to Guga [the nickname for Gustavo Kuerten, who won three French Open singles titles]. He’s such a hero for us. He’s so above the sport and everything else. But for me it’s a massive achievement. It doesn’t get much better than that. I came here to play two events, and I won both.”

Soares said he hopes his win will give tennis a boost in his home country ahead of the Olympics in August. He visited the tennis complex in Rio in December and gave it the thumbs-up.

“You guys hear a lot of things about Brazil … not all the time that good,” he said. “We’re famous for hosting well, for welcoming. We’re a very warm country. I hope it’s going to be an amazing Games.”