Canada’s Fernandez picks up singles, doubles wins to start in Doha

Leylah Fernandez plays a forehand return to Sara Bejlek of the Czech Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open. (Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP)

DOHA, Qatar — Canada’s Leylah Fernandez picked up a pair of wins Monday at the Qatar Open women’s tennis tournament.

Fernandez, from Laval, Que., advanced to the second round of the singles draw with a 7-5, 7-6 (4) win over 12th seed Liudmila Samsonova of Russia.

She then teamed with Oksana Kalashnikova of Georgia for a 6-4, 3-6, 13-11 win over Italian duo Jasmine Paolini and Sara Errani in the opening round of doubles.

Fernandez scored an early break in the second set against Samsonova and appeared to be on the verge of victory with a 5-2 lead.

Samsonova answered that break to cut the lead to 5-4 and eventually forced a tiebreaker.

Fernandez regained control in the extra session and won on her first match point chance when Samsonova hit Fernandez’s service return long, ending the match in two hours, 10 minutes.

Fernandez evened her career record against Samsonova at 1-1. The Russian was victorious in their first meeting in the second round of the 2022 U.S. Open.

Next up for Fernandez is wild-card Paula Badosa of Spain.

Later, Fernandez and Kalashnikova survived a tough challenge from Errani and Paolini to pick up the first win of their partnership.

Fernandez and Kalashnikova won 49.3 per cent of available points in the match, but 54.2 per cent of points in the decisive set.

They will next face the top-seeded team of Belgium’s Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan.

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