Leylah Fernandez came back from the brink of defeat before successfully defending her Abierto GNP Seguros title, saving five championship points in a gripping three-set tussle before overcoming Camila Osorio 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(3) in the Monterrey final.
The second-seeded Fernandez of Canada erased one championship point at 5-4 in the third set and four more at 6-5 before taking the decisive tiebreak and quelling the challenge from the fifth-seeded Osorio of Colombia after 2 hours and 52 minutes.
Words from the winner: “Today it was a very, very tough match, not only physically or tennis-wise, but mentally,” Fernandez said after her win. “Camila, she’s a tough player to play against. She’s very crafty, she does slices, high balls, it’s very unpredictable.
“I’m very, very happy to have gone through these hard moments, and have fought, found solutions. And Camila, I hope we have many, many more finals like this, because without her, I don’t think this tournament, this final, would be [as] special.”
Rivalry renewed: This was the first professional meeting between the 19-year-old Fernandez and 20-year-old Osorio, but they were frequent junior rivals, squaring off three times in junior Grand Slam events. Fernandez won their matches at junior Roland Garros in 2018 and 2019, while Osorio claimed a win at the 2018 junior US Open.
The match lived up to its billing as World No.21 Fernandez needed to go down to the wire before she was able to defend her 2021 crown and notch the second Hologic WTA Tour singles title of her career. Fernandez is now 12-1 at the event overall and has won her past 10 matches in Monterrey.
Fernandez is now 2-2 in tour-level finals, with both titles coming in Monterrey and a third final also coming in Mexico, at 2020 Acapulco. Her fourth final was her breakthrough runner-up showing at the 2021 US Open.
World No.44 Osorio, the 2021 Bogota champion and 2021 Tenerife runner-up, falls to 1-2 in tour-level finals, but her deep run this week will still push her up to a new career-high ranking inside the Top 40 on Monday.
Tale of the match: Fernandez led 4-1 to start the match and served for the first set at 5-3, but Osorio used her combination of dogged defense and creative shot-making to chip away at that lead. In a tiebreak, Osorio stole the first set by converting her first set point with an error-forcing pass.
Fernandez, though, regrouped for the second set and attained another 4-1 lead. Osorio clawed one break back and held three more break points at 5-4, but Fernandez pulled all the way back to set point, which she converted by slamming a putaway.
It came down to a topsy-turvy final set, where Fernandez took an early lead again, breaking to open the decider. But Osorio reeled off four games in a row, and suddenly the Colombian led 4-1. Fernandez pulled back on serve but had to stare down a championship point before holding for 5-5.
Fernandez had to rally to erase four more championship points at 6-5, with the fifth one she faced overall coming directly after a delay due to a partial power failure on court. However, Fernandez's lefty forehand came through in the clutch at key moments, and she scraped through that game to queue up a decisive final-set tiebreak.
In the breaker, more Fernandez forehands helped her build a 5-2 lead, and after Osorio fired a forehand long at 5-3, it was Fernandez’s first opportunity to hold a championship point. There, Osorio sent a groundstroke wide, and the Canadian sealed her title defense after a thrilling battle.
Harrison, Santamaria win maiden doubles title: Americans Catherine Harrison and Sabrina Santamaria won a tight tussle of their own in the Abierto GNP Seguros doubles final, capturing the crown 1-6, 7-5, [10-6] over Han Xinyun and Yana Sizikova.
It was a breakthrough week for the two Americans, who each claimed a first Hologic WTA Tour doubles title. 27-year-old Harrison was in her first doubles final, while 29-year-old Santamaria had gone 0-for-4 in her previous tour-level finals.
Harrison and Santamaria were a set and a break down at 6-1, 4-3, but the eventual champions charged back from that deficit to squeak into a decisive match-tiebreak. From 5-6 down in the breaker, Harrison and Santamaria won five straight points to claim the title after an hour and 37 minutes.