PARIS, June 8, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Girls’ No. 1 seed Leylah Annie Fernandez from Canada beat eighth seed Emma Navarro of the United States, 6-3, 6-2, in one hour and 25 minutes to become the first Canadian to win a Roland Garros junior singles title on Saturday. She powered her way through the girls’ draw without dropping a set by relying on her outstanding forehand.
Meanwhile, seventh seed Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune of Denmark came back to beat unseeded Tobey Alex Kodat of the United States, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-0, in one hour and 48 minutes to garner the Roland Garros junior boys’ title. In the third meeting between these 16-year-olds, Rune broke Kodat eight times and outpointed him 112-89. Ranked eighth among ITF juniors, Rune became the first Danish player to win a Roland Garros junior title.
Fernandez, a 16-year-old left-hander born in Laval, Quebec to a Ecuadorian father and Canadian mother, became the first Canadian to reach either French Open junior final since Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2016, after she beat No. 3 seed Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia, 6-2, 6-4, in the semifinals.
Navarro, 18, from Charleston, S.C., moved into the final after besting Zheng Qinwen of China, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. She had lost just one set before the final.
Fernandez, ranked sixth among ITF juniors, broke Navarro twice in the first set and three times in the second set – outpointing her opponent 76-57 – to earn an impressive win and lift the trophy. Her victory marked the first time since 2004 that the top seed had won the tournament.
“This year my goal was to win one junior Grand Slam, and I fell short in the Australian Open junior,” said Fernandez, who was also selected to Canada’s Fed Cup team for its tie against the Czech Republic in April. “I was very happy to be able to have another opportunity here in the French Open and to win it.
“Roland Garros is very special for me because it was the first Grand Slam I watched on TV. So, being able to win here as a junior player is very special to me.”