ROME -- Quebec's Leylah Annie Fernandez lost in the first round of qualifying at the Rome Masters on Saturday.

Fernandez, ranked 72nd in the world, lost 7-6 (2), 6-4 to American Christina McHale, ranked 90th in the world.

It was the first career match between these two players and it was over in two hours and one minute.

McHale will now cross swords with Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, the fifth seed in the qualifying draw.

Fernandez was far too generous with her opponent to have any hope of winning on the Romanian clay court.

The 18-year-old gave up an impressive 15 break points to McHale, and was only able to save 10 of them. In comparison, her opponent was broken four times in five opportunities by the Canadian.

The 18-year-old from Laval has been going through a rough patch since her victory in Monterrey in March.

She has been ousted from the qualifying rounds of the last three Masters 1000 tournaments, in Miami, Madrid and Rome.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2021.