PARIS, France – No.1 seed Leylah Annie Fernandez claimed the Roland Garros girls’ title thanks to a convincing 6-3, 6-2 win over No.8 seed Emma Navarro.
The Canadian had suffered heartbreak in the Australian Open final earlier this year, in which she was defeated in straight sets by Clara Tauson but stormed past her American opponent to seal her first junior Grand Slam title in just 85 minutes.
"This year my goal was to win one junior Grand Slam, and I fell short in Australian Open junior. I was very happy to be able to have another opportunity here in French Open and to win it," she said.
"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 for me."
Fernandez had been the dominant player of the week, dropping only 19 games and not a single set in her previous five matches and the 16-year-old Montreal native proved equally imposing throughout the showpiece encounter.
A double fault gifted her a first break of serve, and though it was rapidly equalized by the 18-year-old Navarro, who had been pushed to three sets in both her previous matches, another break in the sixth game proved decisive.
The WTA World No.371 clicked through the gears in the second set, immediately taking the ascendancy by pinching a game on her opponent’s delivery.
Although three double faults meant she was unable to consolidate that advantage at first, she powered to glory by winning five of the next six games, breaking twice along the way.
As I was warming up before the match, I was very nervous, but my father talked me out of it. He calmed me. He told me that all I had to do was to be happy to be in the finals and to play and just to fight for each point," she said.
"In the first set, I was serving for the set and it was a bit long, but I was able to overcome that.
"In the second set, I was 1-0 and then I was serving, but she broke again. But it wasn't a problem, because I knew I had won the first set and it was the beginning of the second set, so all I had to do was to fight."
By winning in Paris, becoming the first Canadian to win a junior Grand Slam title since Eugenie Bouchard won Wimbledon in 2012, she follows in the illustrious footsteps of Elina Svitolina, Belinda Bencic, Daria Kasatkina and Simona Halep, who is the only winner of the junior Roland Garros title this millennium to have converted it into senior success at the same Slam.