Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu, who battled against each other as teenagers in the 2021 US Open final, are both advancing to the second round of the 2024 Australian Open.
Fernandez’s triumph: Fernandez, the 21-year-old Filipino Canadian, emerged victorious in her first-round match against 17-year-old Czech opponent Sara Bejlek on Sunday, securing a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory. Fernandez, born in Quebec to a Filipino Canadian mother and an Ecuadorian father, is now gearing up to face American Alycia Parks in the second round of the tournament.
“I’m super happy that I was able to play some good points on important moments and to be playing in front of an amazing crowd feels good,” Fernandez said in the post-match interview.
Raducanu’s comeback: Raducanu’s journey since her spectacular US Open triumph has been marked by challenges, undergoing wrist and ankle surgeries last year. Raducanu showcased resilience in her first-round match against Shelby Rogers, winning 6-3, 6-2. The 21-year-old tennis star, born in Canada to a Romanian father and a Chinese mother, is set for a second-round match against China’s Wang Yafan.
“I missed that feeling of playing and interacting with the crowd, so I wanted to spend some time with them,” Raducanu said after the match. “I heard some young kids calling my name and it’s hard to walk away. I enjoy it and I definitely missed it when I was away.”
Raducanu’s triumph and Fernandez’s run to the final at the 2021 US Open
propelled them into the global spotlight. Raducanu has become a sponsorship magnet, securing deals with Nike, Wilson, HSBC, Porsche, Vodafone, British Airways, Evian and Dior. These endorsements have contributed to her reported $15.2 million
Fernandez, who has $8.8 million
in earnings, serves as a brand ambassador for Avocados From Mexico and collaborates with Morgan Stanley, Lululemon and Google.