Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez ousted from Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Australia — Canadians Leylah Annie Fernandez and Vasek Pospisil made early exits at the Australian Open.

The 18-year-old Fernandez was dropped in straight sets on Tuesday in the first round by 18th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium.

Mertens took the match 6-1, 6-3 in one hour 26 minutes.

"She's still young, she's a good player," said Mertens. "If you let her play, she's aggressive, she can play aggressive."

Fernandez, ranked 89th in the world, held serve to go up 1-0 in the opening set before Mertens reeled off six straight points.

Fernandez, from Laval, Que., fell behind 2-0 in the second set but broke Mertens for the first time, then held serve to tie it 2-2.

Any momentum was quickly halted for the Canadian, however, as Mertens cruised the rest of the way, with Fernandez ending her outing with six double faults and 25 unforced errors.

"I think it wasn't my best match today but I'm happy to pull through it in two sets," said Mertens.

Fernandez was the first Canadian to be ousted from the Grand Slam tournament, with Rebecca Marino, Bianca Andreescu, Milos Raonic, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov all winning their first-round matches Monday.

Meanwhile, Vancouver's Pospisil became the next Canadian to go down, losing 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to No. 4 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in a first-round men's match.

Pospisil, ranked 63rd in the world, hasn't won a singles match at the Australian Open since 2015.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published February 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press