AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Canada’s 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez opened her 2023 season with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 win Monday over 15-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova in the first round of the ASB Classic.

Third-seeded Fernandez needed only 61 minutes to sweep by the Czech teenager, who entered the main draw on a wild card.

Fernandez beat three top-5 players, including defending champion Naomi Osaki, on her way to the 2021 US Open final where she was beaten by Britain’s Emma Raducanu, who also is in the main draw at Auckland.

The 20-year-old said life had been tough since her final appearance at Flushing Meadows, which substantially raised expectations of her performance.

“It’s been tougher more mentally and emotionally because you don’t really know what the future holds for you and you have these big dreams and sometimes you get knocked down and you feel like that’s the end of the journey,” she said.

“I try to not think about the past and just keep thinking about the present and keep moving forward.

“One of my goals is to be more consistent, to get deeper into tournaments and see where I’m at physically, mentally and also tennis-wise.”

Earlier China’s Zhu Lin beat sixth seeded American Madison Brengle 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 in a match which lasted almost four hours due to rain delays.

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