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Tennis: Leylah Fernandez moves into final at Rothesay International

Canada’s Leylah Fernandez has advanced to the final of the Rothesay International grass-court tennis tournament.

Fernandez, of Laval, Que., defeated defending champion Madison Keys 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in Friday’s semifinal at the Wimbledon tune-up event.

On Saturday, she will face world No. 14 Daria Kasatkina of Russia, who beat Italy’s Jasmine Paolini 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in Friday’s other semifinal.

It will be Fernandez’s sixth career final but first on grass and first at the WTA 500 level or above since the 2021 U.S. Open.

Fernandez, who reached the Birmingham quarterfinals earlier this month, is pleased with her grass-court form ahead of Monday’s Wimbledon.

Defeating Keys, ranked 12th and a two-time Eastbourne champion, only bolsters her confidence for the upcoming Grand Slam event.

“We’ve been working super hard the past couple of months (and) the past couple of years, so I am super happy with the results these past few weeks,” said Fernandez.

“It’s good preparation for Wimbledon, but we are just going to focus on (Saturday’s) final.”

Kasatkina says 30th-ranked Fernandez’s aggressive style is a natural fit for grass-court play.

“Grass suits Leylah very good,” Kasatkina said. “She’s in great form now, beat very good players this week. In the finals, everyone wants to win, so I’ll just go and try to enjoy myself, and let’s see how this final is going to turn out.”

Ottawa’s Gabriela Dabrowski and New Zealand’s Erin Routliffe will play for the women’s doubles title in Eastbourne on Saturday after outlasting Spain’s Cristina Bucsa and Japan’s Makoto Ninomiya 6-7 (2), 6-4, 10-8 in Friday’s semifinal.

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Dabrowski and Routliffe, a dual citizen who grew up in Caledon, Ont., meet Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the final.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 28, 2024.

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