Leylah Fernandez pumps her fist and yells after winning a pointTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Leylah Annie Fernandez’s run comes to an end at Rothesay International

Leylah Annie Fernandez‘s remarkable run to the Rothesay International Eastbourne tournament final in England came to an end on Saturday. The Canadian lost in two sets, 6-3, 6-4, to Daria Kasatkina of Russia. 

A preparation tournament for Wimbledon, it was Fernandez’s first grass final of her career and first final at the WTA 500 level or higher since the 2021 U.S. Open.

While the 21-year-old battled out of three break points when down 4-2 in the opening set, she wasn’t able to climb all the way back after a second break, eventually dropping the first set 6-3. 

Similar to the opening set, Fernandez dropped serve in her first service game but could not capitalize on her opportunities amid long rallies through the second set. Despite a strong effort to come from behind, Kasatkina eventually prevailed 6-4 to seal her victory in the tournament.

Fernandez had one ace to three double faults and won 51 percent of her first-serve points on the day. 

Although the final didn’t fall her way, Fernandez’s uptick on the grass court is significant progress in her game, as she knocked off seventh-seed Barbora Krejcikova in the opening round and the world No. 12 Madison Keys in the semifinal before falling short of Kasatkina. 

With a strong grass performance in her pocket, Fernandez will enter Wimbledon with some newfound confidence, beginning her Grand Slam tournament with a matchup against world No. 64,  Italian Lucia Bronzetti. 

After Wimbledon, Fernandez will look ahead to a busy summer schedule, which includes the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. There, she will make her Olympic debut on the clay courts of Roland-Garros as part of an experienced Team Canada. In addition to competing in the singles event, she will play doubles with Gabriela Dabrowski.