"This one hurts" - Leylah Fernandez remains in good spirit despite Madrid Open 3R loss to Ons Jabeur, aims for Italian Open redemption

Ons Jabeur and Leylah Fernandez
Ons Jabeur (L) and Leylah Fernandez

Leylah Fernandez bowed out of the 2024 Madrid Open in the third round at the hands of Ons Jabeur and is hoping for a better showing at her next tournament.

Leylah Fernandez was seeded No. 31 at the 2024 Madrid Open and received a first-round bye. On April 25, she faced Anastasia Potapova in the second round and dispatched the Russian in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to win just her second match ever at the tournament.

Fernandez next faced No. 8 seed and former Madrid Open champion Ons Jabeur in the third round on April 27. Jabeur has had her fair share of struggles recently and failed to win back-to-back matches this year coming into the Madrid Open. The Tunisian required three sets to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in her second-round contest at the WTA 1000 tournament.

Fernandez began the third-round match on the front foot, racing to a 3-0 lead. Jabeur recovered well to break back the Canadian and take the first set. Both women went toe-to-toe in the second set, but Fernandez struck first to break Jabeur at 3-2 and again at 5-2 to send the match into a final set.

The Canadian had the upper hand in the third set with a 4-2 lead, but Jabeur staged another comeback to break Fernandez's serve multiple times and wrap up a win 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in a nearly two-and-a-half-hour match. Leylah Fernandez was heartbroken after the loss and took to Instagram to reflect on her performance.

The 21-year-old wrote that she is "hurt" by the loss but will use the result as the motivation to perform better in her next tournament. She thanked Ons Jabeur for her great performance and looked forward to doing well at the Italian Open.

"This one hurts. The kind of hurt that pushes you to work harder and go further. Congrats to @onsjabeur on a great battle yesterday. Thank you Madrid Next stop: Rome," Fernandez captioned the post.

Leylah Fernandez lost in Italian Open 2023 1R

Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez

Leylah Fernandez is not defending many points at the 2024 Italian Open after losing in last year's opening round. She faced Belarus' Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round in Rome last year and lost in a three-set affair 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. The Canadian's best performance at the Italian Open has been a second-round appearance in 2022.

Fernandez would be hoping for a better performance than last year at the Italian Open. The former Roland Garros quarterfinalist registered his first clay court win of the year at the Madrid Open after a first-round exit at the Charleston Open.

The Canadian's best performance on the 2024 WTA Tour had been a quarterfinal appearance at the Qatar Open in mid-February. Since then, though, she has won only three matches.

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