World No. 1 Iga Swiatek cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Canada’s Leylah Fernandez in second-round action Tuesday at the Dubai Tennis Championships.
Fernandez, from Laval, Que., is still trying to get back into the form that propelled her to the 2021 U.S. Open final since recovering from a stress fracture in her foot that derailed the end of her 2022 campaign.
She has shown recent progress, with a run to the quarterfinals last week in Doha, Qatar, and a confident 6-4, 6-2 first-round win over Julia Grabher on Sunday.
But Swiatek proved to be too much of an obstacle on Tuesday. The Polish star fired five aces and broke Fernandez six times on seven chances in a match that lasted just one hour 12 minutes.
Swiatek, who won her 12th career title last week in Doha, improved to 10-2 on the season.
Fernandez was next scheduled to team with Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States on Wednesday in a second-round doubles match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus and Xu Yifan of China.
WATCH | Fernandez ousted in straight sets at Dubai event:
Michael Downey leaving ‘dream job’
Tennis Canada president and chief executive officer Michael Downey announced Tuesday he will retire at the end of the year.
Canadian tennis players have enjoyed considerable success during Downey’s 15 years as head of the organization.
His second term as president and CEO, which started in 2017, includes Bianca Andreescu’s 2019 U.S. Open victory and Canada’s first Davis Cup title last year.
Downey joined Tennis Canada in 2004, and his first term saw the development of the National Tennis Centre, which developed the likes of Andreescu, Eugenie Bouchard, Milos Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime into stars on the WTA and ATP Tours.
Downey left after 2013 to take over as CEO of Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association, but his investment in developing players paid off with Bouchard reaching the 2014 Wimbledon final, and Raonic reaching the men’s final at the All England Club two years later.
Downey returned to Tennis Canada in 2017 after his replacement, Kelly Murumets, left at the end of the previous year.
Memorable 2nd stint
In addition to Andreescu’s U.S. Open triumph over Serena Williams in New York — Canada first ever Grand Slam singles title — and the Davis Cup win in Malaga, Spain, Downey’s second stint saw Leylah Fernandez advance to the 2021 U.S. Open final, Canada reach the 2019 Davis Cup final and Auger-Aliassime win four ATP Tour titles last year, including three in a row late in the season.
“Being chief executive of Tennis Canada has been my dream job,” Downey said in a news release. “I was downright lucky to have held this coveted leadership position not once, but twice. I take great pride in our highly talented, gender and city-balanced senior management team that will ensure the bold ambitions of our new strategic plan will be achieved.”
Downey said he was inspired by Canada’s crop of talent over his time as head of Tennis Canada, which also includes Aleksandra Wozniak, Vasek Pospisil, Denis Shapovalov, Rebecca Marino, Daniel Nestor and Gabriela Dabrowski.
“They are all household names because of their on and off-court brilliance. But, their greatest legacy will be the inspiration they provide to the future generation of Canadian talent that will, in due course, ensure Canada remains a world-leading tennis nation.”
Tennis Canada says a search for a new CEO is underway.
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