Leylah Fernandez broke a 19-month drought in which she had not reached a tour-level semifinal at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open on Friday, defeating Linda Fruhvirtova 7-6(2), 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

The Canadian has experienced fluctuating health and results ever since reaching the 2021 US Open final in the week she turned 19. The following year, Fernandez made her second Grand Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros -- but sustained a foot injury at that tournament which derailed her momentum.

This June, less than a year after hitting her career-high ranking of No.13, Fernandez found herself in danger of falling out of the Top 100 as she fell to No.96. A run to the Guadalajara quarterfinals last month was cause for optimism, but coming into Hong Kong, she had not made a semifinal since winning her second career title in Monterrey in March 2022.

But the 21-year-old feels she's on the right track again here, particular after defeating two highly-rated teenagers in Fruhvirtova and, one round previously, Mirra Andreeva.

"First semifinal in a long time," she said after her quarterfinal win. "Getting these wins is extra special given what's been going on these past few years. I'm happy with the way I fought, the way I found solutions. I'm finally finding my game once again."

Those solutions have been centered around a commitment to coming forwards whenever possible. Against Andreeva, Fernandez won 17 of her 27 net approaches. That statistic was even better against Fruhvirtova as she claimed 16 net points out of 20, an effective strategy against a rock-solid opponent who only committed six unforced errors.

More Hong Kong quarterfinal highlights: Blinkova d. Sorribes Tormo | Trevisan d. Mertens | Siniakova d. Pavlyuchenkova

Fernandez's numbers were impressive all round -- she nailed 34 winners to only 13 unforced errors herself. Her next challenge will be No.5 seed Anna Blinkova, who defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6(3), 6-3 to reach her third semifinal of the year.

Blinkova is another player whose career-best results over the past year have been characterized by fine net play, and she got the better of Fernandez 7-5, 6-2 on the grass of Bad Homburg in June. The No.37-ranked 25-year-old will be bidding for her second final of 2023 following Strasbourg in May.

The second semifinal will pit No.6 seed Martina Trevisan against Katerina Siniakova. Trevisan reached the first hard-court semifinal of her career with a 6-4, 6-3 defeat of No.3 seed Elise Mertens, and Siniakova came from 4-2 down in the first set to oust 2017 champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(1), 6-4.