Leylah Fernandez is a repeat defender…
The 19-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis player outlasted Colombia’s Camila Osorio in an absolutely thrilling final at the Monterrey Open on Sunday night, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (3), to win the WTA 250 hard-court event for the second year in a row.
Fernandez has to fight off five match points late in the third set to win the tournament.
Fernandez has now won her last 10 matches in a row in Monterrey, 17 of her last 20 matches in Mexico and 19 of her last 24 matches in North America.
There were all kinds of momentum swings throughout the two-hour, 52-minute battle, including right from the get-go, as Fernandez stormed out to a 3-0 lead after just eight minutes on court, eventually extending that to 5-2—but an increasingly determined Osorio clawed back to take the opening set in a tie-break.
Fernandez got back on track in the second set, building a 4-1, double-break lead. Osorio began building another comeback, getting one break back, but Fernandez held onto the other one and ended up serving it out to take it to a decider.
After Fernandez broke in the first game of the third set, Osorio won four games in a row to build a 4-1 lead, then Fernandez came back to 4-all, and that’s when the tension reached its peak—Fernandez staved off five match points, one serving to stay in the match at 4-5 and another four serving to stay in the match at 5-6, the last one coming after a 15-minute-plus delay after several lights in the stadium went out.
But once the lights came back on Fernandez came alive one last time, winning 10 of the last 13 points to close it out, ripping a flurry of forehand winners along the way.
At the end of the day, Fernandez’s numbers were just a bit tidier than Osorio’s—she finished with 15 more winners, 44 to 29, to only 9 more unforced errors, 60 to 51.
Fernandez won her second WTA Tour title, having also won Monterrey last year. She’s the third woman in the 14-year history of the event to win it in back-to-back years, after Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (2010-2011) and Garbine Muguruza (2018-2019).
She had also come back from the brink of defeat in the second round earlier in the week—she was two points away from losing serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the third set against China’s Zheng Qinwen before winning that one, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3).
Despite the narrow loss in the final, it was a great week for the 20-year-old Osorio, who reached her third WTA final—her first two came last year, winning Bogota and finishing runner-up in Tenerife. She also got the second-biggest win of her career along the way, beating No. 15-ranked Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals—her biggest win also came against Svitolina, when the Ukrainian was No. 6 in Tenerife last year.
The 20-year-old Colombian now rises from No. 44—which was already her career-high—to a new career-high of No. 35 on the new WTA rankings.
On this day a year ago, she was ranked No. 185.