Leylah Fernandez suffers early blow

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Leylah Fernandez suffered a blow to her US Open preparations after losing 6-4 7-5 to Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Cincinnati Open first round while Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina was among those advancing in the WTA 1000 event.

Leylah Fernandez

Canadian Fernandez, the 2021 US Open runner-up, was playing only her third singles match since returning from a foot injury at the French Open.

The 19-year-old lefthander, who lost to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu in last year’s Flushing Meadows final, led 3-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second but could not press home her advantage, allowing world number 27 Alexandrova to rally and take the match in straight sets.

LeyLah Fernandez

Rybakina had a relatively comfortable outing against Egyptian Mayar Sherif, winning 6-3 6-2.

Cincinnati-born Caty McNally also moved ahead, overcoming leg cramps to beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 3-6 7-6(2).

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