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Leylah Fernandez takes down 5th seed Qinwen Zheng to reach Qatar Open quarterfinals | CBC Sports



Canada’s Leylah Fernandez advanced to the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open with a 7-5, 6-3 upset of fifth seed Qinwen Zheng of China on Wednesday.

Fernandez came back from a 5-3 deficit in the first set, then picked up her third break in four chances in the second set and held the rest of the way to win the match in 92 minutes.

Fernandez improved to 2-0 in the career series between the 21-year-old Grand Slam finalists.

The Canadian defeated Zheng 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the second round of Monterrey 2022 en route to her second of three WTA titles.

It’s the first win over a top-10 opponent this year for Fernandez, who was ranked as low as No. 95 in July but entered the week at No. 38.

She will next face No.3 seed Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who downed No.16 seed Emma Navarro of the United States 6-1, 6-7(8), 6-4 in the Round of 16.

WATCH | Fernandez beats Zheng in straight sets in Round of 16:

Leylah Fernandez reaches her 1st quarterfinal of the season in Doha

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., took down number five seed Zheng Qinwen of China 7-5, 6-3 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Qatar Open in Doha.

Auger-Aliassime falls to Rublev

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime dropped his second-round match at the ABN Amro Open tennis tournament against Russia’s Andrey Rublev losing 6-3, 6-7 (6), 5-7 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The Montreal native had 20 aces and 42 winners in the two-hour 33-minute match.

However, he had 22 unforced errors to just 12 from Rublev, along with five double faults to his opponents’ two.

The 23-year-old Auger-Aliassime won the tournament back in 2022, one of the four he was victorious in that year.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime ousted in Rotterdam:

Auger-Aliassime falls to Rublev in 2nd round of Rotterdam Open

Andrey Rublev of Russia defeats Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5 and advances to the quarterfinals of the Rotterdam Open.

Raonic rides powerful serve

Canadian veteran Milos Raonic advanced to the quarterfinals earlier with a 6-4, 6-4 upset of eighth seed Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan.

The 33-year-old Raonic, a former world No. 3 from Thornhill, Ont., scored a key break to go up 3-2 in the second set and kept Bublik at bay the rest of the way with his powerful serve.

Five of Raonic’s 12 aces came after that break, including three straight to go up 5-3 and another to set up match point in the final game.

WATCH | Raonic racks up 12 aces in Round of 16 victory:

Milos Raonic dispatches Alexander Bublik in straight sets

Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., made quick work of Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik, winning in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, to move on to the quarterfinals of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament in Rotterdam.

Raonic’s quarterfinal opponent is yet to be determined, but Gael Monfils could be a possibility.

The French veteran moved on to the second round with a tough 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win over Canadian qualifier Denis Shapovalov.

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., missed on a break point chance in Game 7 of the second set.

With the second tiebreaker tied 5-5, Monfils won the next point on return before converting match point on serve.

Monfils will face the winner of a match between top seed Jannik Sinner of Italy and Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands in the second round. The winner of that match will face Raonic in the quarterfinals.

WATCH | Shapovalov downed in straight sets by Monfils in the Netherlands:

Denis Shapovalov defeated by Gael Monfils in straight sets

Two time winner of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament, France’s Gael Monfils, defeats Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 7-6 to end the Canadian’s tournament in the first round.

Nadal pulls out of Qatar Open

Rafael Nadal put off his return to the tennis tour because he isn’t yet healthy enough to play, announcing Wednesday that he will sit out next week’s Qatar Open.

“I would have loved to play in Doha, where the tournament team, as well as the amazing Qatar fans have always supported me greatly. Unfortunately I am not ready to compete and I won’t be able to come to Doha where I really wanted to be and play again after that unforgettable win in 2014,” Nadal wrote on social media. “I will focus on keep working to be ready for the exhibition in Las Vegas and the amazing Indian Wells tournament.”

The 37-year-old Spaniard is scheduled to participate in an exhibition match with Carlos Alcaraz on March 3, then head to Indian Wells, Calif., for the hard-court tournament there next month.

Nadal played in three matches at the Brisbane International in early January — his first competitive action in nearly a full year — but then pulled out of the Australian Open and hasn’t been back since.

He hurt his hip flexor during the Australian Open in 2023, and eventually needed surgery, missing the rest of last season.

Nadal has indicated this year might be the last of his career, and he’s pointed to the French Open — where he won 14 of his 22 Grand Slam titles — as his focus.

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