Fernandez meets Sabalenka to open women's US Open night semis

New York (AFP) –


Canadian teen left-hander Leylah Fernandez will meet second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the first of two US Open women's night semi-finals Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Fernandez, ranked 73rd, eliminated four-time major winner and defending champion Naomi Osaka of Japan and three-time major champion Angelique Kerber of Germany before turning 19 on Monday.

She has become a spectators darling with huge applause for her sensational shotmaking, but will face her toughest test yet in Sabalenka, who reached her first Slam semi-final at Wimbledon in July.

The later semi-final will send British 18-year-old Emma Raducanu, the first qualifier in US Open history to reach the women's semi-finals, against the winner of a night match Wednesday between Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova and Greek 17th seed Maria Sakkari.

The final duo will not have the customary off day between matches, scheduling to give each finalist a day off before Saturday's women's championship match.

The men's singles semi-finalists will be idle Thursday ahead of Friday's last-four matchups to decide Sunday's finalists.