For a minute, last week looked like it was going to be a heart-breaker for Canada.
The Davis Cup playoff went poorly and Leylah Fernandez’s title defence in Monterrey looked to be in trouble. But somehow, the Canadian teen managed to reach into the fire and salvage it with an incredible win for the ages to turn a tough week into a great success.
And she did it just in time to gain some confidence ahead of one of the season’s biggest events.
Here’s what you need to you.
In Case You Missed It: Fernandez goes back-to-back in Monterrey
Earlier in the season, there was a meme making the rounds on the internet about Anett Kontaveit ordering that every tournament now be played on indoor hard courts, where she has been dominating.
If Fernandez were in charge of the tour, every tournament would likely be played in Mexico.
The Canadian teen successfully defended a title for the first time in her career last week, winning her second consecutive title at the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterery, Mexico, also the second title of her career. She has won 10 consecutive matches at the event and has at least reached a final in Mexico three years in a row.
It was hardly a routine title defence, as Fernandez twice needed a third-set tiebreak in her five matches, including the thrilling finals win over Camila Osorio, where the Canadian rallied from a set down, 1-4 in the third and saved five match points before claiming the trophy.
Fernandez had only been 1-2 in 2022 and had not played since losing in the first round of the Australian Open before arriving in Monterrey.
Davis Cup Disappointment
Fernandez’s win in Monterrey was a nice change of pace for Canadian tennis fans after a rough go earlier in the weekend in the Davis Cup qualifiers.
Canada will not be competing in the Davis Cup Finals this season after being swept in their qualifying tie by the Netherlands. The Dutch won all four rubbers played, all in straight sets.
There was a bright spot in the opening singles match, when Alexis Galarneau made a strong Davis Cup debut, pushing US Open quarter-finalist Botic van de Zandschulp in a tight two-setter.
But from there it was one-way traffic as Steven Diez lost both his singles matches and the pair of Brayden Schnur and Peter Polansky were outmatched by a more experienced Dutch doubles team.
Canada will now have to play a World Group I tie in September to have a chance to get back into the qualifiers for 2023. Canada was the only team in the Davis Cup qualifiers to lose to a lower-ranked team.
A Bright Spot
The other tournament on the WTA Tour last week saw what may stand as one of the most incredible stories of the tennis season as Dayana Yastremska reached the final of Lyon just days after fleeing Ukraine with her 15-year-old sister.
Despite the harrowing experience of being forced to escape a war-torn country and playing with the weight of the conflict back home on her shoulders, Yastremska was able to battle into her first final since January 2020, draping herself in the Ukrainian flag each time she stepped on court.
In the end, Yastremska was beaten in a three-set final by Shuai Zhang.
What to Watch: Welcome to Paradise
Next up on the schedule is tennis’ self-proclaimed fifth Grand Slam event, the first Masters 1000 event of the year and second WTA 1000, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Daniil Medvedev will be making his debut at No. 1 in the world, having clinched the ranking in Acapulco last month. He leads a stacked men’s field that includes 27 of the top 30 players in the rankings. The most notable absence is world No. 2 Novak Djokovic, who is unable to compete due to COVID-19 restrictions in the United States.
Cameron Norrie is the defending champion on the men’s side and is seeded 11th. Rafael Nadal will look to keep his perfect start to 2022 going as he is undefeated at 15-0 so far this year. The Australian Open champion is seeded third behind Medvedev and Alexander Zverev.
Félix Auger-Aliassime benefits from Djokovic’s absence, as it bumped his seeding up to No. 8 which means he will not face a higher-ranked player until at least the quarter-finals. This will be Auger-Aliassime’s first time seeded in the Top 10 at a Masters 1000 event. Denis Shapovalov is seeded 12th.
Vasek Pospisil is competing in the qualifying draw.
The women’s event will be without their world No. 1 as Ashleigh Barty withdrew citing need for recovery. Instead, world No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova will be the top seed. Barty is the only member of the women’s Top 10 who will be absent from Indian Wells.
Paula Badosa is the defending champion and is seeded fifth behind Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Anett Kontaveit and Iga Świątek.
Leylah Fernandez is the only Canadian woman in the singles draw and is seeded 18th. She reached the fourth round when the BNP Paribas Open was held last October. Gabriela Dabrowski and partner Giuliana Olmos are seeded sixth in the doubles.
The draw for the women will take place on Monday and on Tuesday for the men.
Under the Radar: Marino claims first title of 2022
Overall, last week was a very good one for Canadian women, as Rebecca Marino also won her first title of 2022, blowing the draw apart to win the ITF W60 event in Arcadia, California.
Marino did not drop a set on her way to her biggest title in three years.
Pospisil has been in good form of late on the ATP Challenger and reached the semi-finals last week in Turin, Italy.
Overall, this week is a little quieter than usual on the lower tours. Marino will look to stay hot at another W60 event, this time in Guanajuato, Mexico. Brayden Schnur is the lone Canadian competing on the ATP Challenger Tour this week in Italy.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.