Having reached her first WTA final as a 17-year-old in Acapulco a year ago, Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez continued her breakthrough results on Mexican soil this week, capturing the first WTA title of her career in Monterrey, beating Viktorija Golubic in Sunday’s final, 6-1, 6-4.

The 18-year-old Fernandez was the youngest player in the draw at the WTA 250 event.

“Last year I lost in the finals at Acapulco, and this year I was able to again get to the finals in Monterrey, and I just tried to do my best,” Fernandez said in her post-match press conference. “I tried to use the emotions I felt last year this year so I could get the win, and it definitely helped today.”

That final in Acapulco last year was a two-hour, 46-minute thriller against Heather Watson, where Fernandez fought off five match points in the second set but ultimately fell to the Brit, 6-4, 6-7 (8), 6-1.

The Canadian said afterwards that the loss in that final was on her mind going into this final.

“It definitely played a big factor,” she said. “Before the match today, I was talking with my dad, and I just remembered all the emotions I felt last year. Let’s not say regret, but a bit of disappointment.

“He just told me to use those emotions as fuel for today, and I did.”

Fernandez came out of the blocks quickly against Golubic, racing out to a 5-0, double-break lead, and after Golubic held to get on the board, the Canadian held one more time to pocket the first set.

Things were a little more complicated in the second set, though, as Golubic began finding the range on her flowing one-handed backhand and cutting back on the unforced errors. After trading breaks in the third and fourth games, the two stayed on serve until 4-all, when Fernandez pounced one more time, breaking for 5-4 then serving it out, hitting a forehand into the open court to seal the victory.

18-year-old Leylah Fernandez captures first WTA title in Monterrey

18-year-old Leylah Fernandez captures first WTA title in Monterrey


Abierto GNP Seguros

Fernandez finished the match with six more winners than unforced errors, 23 to 17. Golubic was in the negatives, hitting 7 winners to 27 unforced errors, most of that deficit coming in the first set.

Even more importantly, Fernandez went four-of-six on break points—Golubic was one-for-five.

Fernandez, who’s currently ranked No. 88, will jump past her career-high ranking of No. 86 and into the Top 75 when the new WTA rankings come out on Monday, to approximately No. 72.

Golubic will make a big leap, too—a former No. 51, she’ll rise from No. 102 to approximately No. 81, becoming the new highest-ranked player on the women’s tour with a one-handed backhand.

The Swiss has had a very strong start to 2021, reaching finals in Lyon, France and now Monterrey, Mexico—her only two WTA main draws of the year so far. She’s 8-2 this year at tour-level, and 25-5 across all levels, including WTA qualifying and ITF events. She began 2021 ranked No. 138.

18-year-old Leylah Fernandez captures first WTA title in Monterrey

18-year-old Leylah Fernandez captures first WTA title in Monterrey