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A win is a win: ’20 Australian champ Kenin gets by in 2 sets

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – Sure, Sofia Kenin struggled in her first match as a defending champion at a Grand Slam match.

The 22-year-old from Florida struggled with jitters on the Australian Open. Struggled along with her pictures. Struggled towards an opponent who’s by no means gained a tour-level match.

Kenin, although, is aware of all that basically issues: Who can declare the ultimate level. And, ultimately, she managed to just do that Tuesday (Monday EST) at Melbourne Park, setting apart an early deficit and beating 133rd-ranked Australian wild-card entry Maddison Inglis 7-5, 6-4.

“I’m obviously not too happy with the way I played,” Kenin stated with a chuckle, “but a win is a win.”

Inglis is nonetheless trying to find one: She fell to 0-6 for her profession.

Still, boosted by a crowd of locals at Rod Laver Arena, she didn’t make issues straightforward on Kenin, who however managed to keep away from changing into the primary lady since Jennifer Capriati in 2003 to lose in the primary spherical on the Australian Open a yr after successful the championship.

“First round, it’s obviously nerves for me,” stated Kenin, who adopted up her first main title final yr by reaching the ultimate on the French Open.

The lady Kenin defeated for the title in final yr’s remaining in Melbourne, two-time main champion Garbiñe Muguruza, additionally superior to the second spherical, defeating Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-0.

Muguruza dropped solely 11 factors in the second set and improved to 9-0 in first-round matches on the Australian Open.

In different early outcomes on Day 2 on a sunny day with the temperature in the low 70s Fahrenheit (low 20s Celsius), 17-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz grew to become the youngest man to win a Grand Slam match since Thanasi Kokkinakis was sooner or later youthful on the 2014 Australian Open.

Alcaraz eradicated Botic Van de Zandschulp, a 25-year-old from the Netherlands who is ranked 151st, by a rating of 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.

A seeded lady exited the match when Ann Li, a 20-year-old American, defeat No. 31 Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-0 in simply 47 minutes to enhance to 5-0 this season.

Li is ranked 69th and competing in solely her third profession Grand Slam match.

She is coming off an uncommon accomplishment at a tune-up match at Melbourne Park final week: Li shared the title of the Grampians Trophy with Anett Kontaveit as a result of organizers determined to not maintain a remaining in order not to wear down the gamers proper earlier than the Australian Open.

That warmup occasion was created for gamers resembling Li who had to enter a laborious lockdown after probably being uncovered to COVID-19. They weren’t allowed out of their lodge rooms for follow – or another motive – throughout a two-week quarantine upon arrival in Australia.

For Kenin, her issues in the early going Tuesday resulted in an early break that led to her falling behind 3-1. Even after she got that back, how close was the opening set?

They players split the first 52 total points, each grabbing 26.

They split the first 10 total winners, each producing five.

But Kenin came through at crunch time.

In the second set, she went up an early break before finding herself even at 3-all, 30-all. A net-cord backhand gave Kenin a break point – she offered the usual “Sorry, not sorry,” raised hand – that was converted when Inglis pushed a groundstroke long.

There was one more tight moment. Serving for the victory at 5-4, Kenin faced a break point that she erased with a service winner at 88 mph (142 kph). Moments later, her first match point arrived – and she double-faulted it away.

She pushed a forehand wide on her second chance to close things. But on chance No. 3, a swinging backhand volley winner converted.


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