GATINEAU, July 22, 2019
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada won her first professional singles title on Sunday at the Gatineau National Bank Challenger. The $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour W25 hard-court event was held from July 15 to 21 at Parc de l’Île in Gatineau.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, there were two Canadians playing in the women’s singles final. On Sunday, Leylah Annie Fernandez and Carson Branstine from Orange, who needed to qualify to reach the main draw, were facing off for only the second time in their careers, having previously met at the Grade 2 junior tournament in Montreal back in 2015 where it was Branstine who got the better of her compatriot.
Playing in front of a nearly sold out crowd, it was the slightly more experienced Branstine who got off to a hot start in the match, getting a late break in the first to take the set. Despite the heat, both players were involved in hard hitting rallies. In the second, Branstine was experiencing some difficulties on court and had to call for the trainer. Once play resumed, Fernandez stepped up her game to bring the match to one set all. In the decider, the 16-year-old Laval native capitalized on her early opportunities, inching her way closer to her first professional title. Fernandez achieved the feat after just under two hours of play, defeating her compatriot by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. She becomes the second player to capture both the singles and doubles titles in Gatineau, after Bianca Andreescu who did it in 2016.
“It was a tough match today, I’ve known Carson for a long time and we are good friends. Of course I am happy with the win, but I am also very happy for Carson because she had a great week. I am satisfied with the way I played this week. You learn something from every match, no matter a win or a loss, and I feel like I am leaving Gatineau with more experience which will hopefully help me in the future,” stated Fernandez after capturing her first professional single’s title.