Fil-Canadian tennis star NY’s darling
The 19-year-old Canadian’s dream run into her first Grand Slam final ended in defeat Saturday as she fell to British 18-year-old qualifier Emma Raducanu 6-4, 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium. “It definitely stings,” said Fernandez, whose mother Irene is Filipino-Canadian. “But it will just make me want to work harder and stronger, just come back to every tournament with the same hunger I came into this tournament.” After cheering support from Big Apple fans throughout an epic run that saw her upset three of the world’s top five players, Fernandez told the crowd on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that she hoped to be as strong and resilient as New York has been. “I remembered watching movies about what happened, then asking my parents what exactly happened that day,” said the daughter of Jorge Fernandez, a former pro football player from Ecuador. “I was just so in shock when they told me. They told me what they were doing when they saw the news. “I don’t know much about what really happened, but with the information I do have, I know that New York has suffered a lot the past years when it did happen. I just wanted to let them know that they’re so strong, they’re so resilient. They’re just incredible.” Cheering fans helped propel 73rd-ranked Fernandez past defending champion Naomi Osaka, second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka and fifth-ranked Elina Svitolina as well as three-time Slam winner Angelique Kerber. “Just having them here happy, lively, just going back to the way they were, having my back during these tough moments, has made me stronger and has made me believe in myself a lot more,” Fernandez said. It’s a breakthrough moment that will take her to a career-best 27th in the world rankings and serve notice to future rivals of her abilities.