Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin ‘could not deal with the strain’ as title defence ends in tears

Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin ‘could not deal with the strain’ as title defence ends in tears

Kenin was simply the third Australian Open defending champion to not attain the third spherical since 1970, and the earliest to crash out since Jennifer Capriati fell within the first spherical in 2003.

Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin 'couldn't handle the pressure' as title defence ends in tears

Defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin made a shock second spherical exit by the hands of Kaia Kanepi. AP

Melbourne: A crestfallen Sofia Kenin stated she was suffocated by the strain of defending her maiden Grand Slam title because the world quantity 4 exited the Australian Open in tears Thursday.

The 22-year-old American has struggled to deal with expectations in Melbourne and was no match for Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi, who received 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes within the second spherical.

Kenin was simply the third Australian Open defending champion to not attain the third spherical since 1970, and the earliest to crash out since Jennifer Capriati fell within the first spherical in 2003.

She headlines a slew of upsets within the girls’s draw, which has additionally misplaced eighth seed Bianca Andreescu and ninth seed Petra Kvitova within the first week.

Kenin’s return to the scene of her breakthrough Grand Slam title, when she beat Garbine Muguruza within the last, proved robust after she misplaced to the Spaniard finally week’s Yarra Valley Basic.

She later declared she was troubled by a left groin damage, which she stated might need been linked to her obligatory 14-day lodge quarantine in Australia.

Moscow-born Kenin has minimize an emotional determine and likewise admitted to taking part in in tears all through her first-round conflict with Australian Maddison Inglis.

“I do know I could not actually deal with the strain,” stated a emotional and red-eyed Kenin, who wiped away tears throughout her press convention.

“I imply, clearly I have not skilled that. I clearly felt like I am not there 100% bodily, mentally, my sport. Every little thing simply feels actual off. It is not good.”

Kenin, who had 22 unforced errors and provided little resistance in opposition to Kanepi, backed up her first Slam title with a runner-up end on the French Open, however fell aside as soon as she arrived in Australia.

“I did put strain on myself there (Roland Garros), however not as a lot as right here,” she stated.

“I really feel like everybody was at all times asking me, ‘Do you see your self getting there and successful once more?’

“The Australia journey, I really feel like that was one thing that I had my eye on. I knew I used to be going to have strain.

“I knew I used to be going to have feelings, nerves, every little thing all collectively. I felt actually nervous. I have not felt my sport for I do not know the way lengthy.

“It is clearly robust. The Aussie swing positively bought me.”

Kanepi, nonetheless, has been in kind, ending runner-up within the warm-up Gippsland Trophy, and performs twenty eighth seed Donna Vekic of Croatia subsequent.

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