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Leylah Fernandez of Canada looks on during her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. Image Credit: AFP

Leylah Fernandez suffered a blow to her U.S. Open preparations after losing 6-4 7-5 to Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Cincinnati Open first round.

Canadian Fernandez, the 2021 U.S. Open runner-up, was playing only her third singles match since returning from a foot injury she suffered at the French Open.

Lead 3-0

The 19-year-old lefthander, who lost to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu in last year’s Flushing Meadows final, led 3-0 in the first set and 5-1 in the second but could not press home her advantage, allowing world number 27 Alexandrova to rally and take the match in straight sets.