Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin’s title defence ends in second spherical; Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova advance

Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin’s title defence ends in second spherical; Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova advance

Sofia Kenin’s first Grand Slam title defence got here to an finish 6-3, 6-2 defeat to Kaia Kanepi within the second spherical.

Australian Open 2021: Sofia Kenin's title defence ends in second round; Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova advance

Sofia Kenin misplaced her second spherical match in straight units. AP

Defending girls’s singles champion Sofia Kenin was knocked out of the Australian Open 2021 on Thursday after shedding in straight-sets to Kaia Kanepi.

The 22-year-old American first Grand Slam title defence got here to an finish with 6-3, 6-2 defeat within the second spherical.

After her first-round win, Kenin talked about how nervous she was because the defending champion at a serious for the primary time.

In opposition to Kanepi, she seemed it. She was close to tears throughout a changeover towards the top of the match.

The Sixty fifth-ranked Kanepi was hardly an underdog: she had overwhelmed Kenin of their solely earlier match and is a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist. The Australian Open is the one Slam the place Kanepi has not reached the quarterfinals.

The fourth-seeded Kenin solely had 10 winners within the match, whereas committing 22 unforced errors.

In the meantime, No. 1-ranked Ashleigh Barty superior to the third spherical regardless of stumbling a bit within the victory over fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova.

Barty blew an enormous lead within the second set and survived a shaky tiebreaker to beat Gavrilova 6-1, 7-6 (7).

Barty is attempting to turn into the primary Australian to win the ladies’s title at Melbourne since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

“It’s a special problem each single day,” Barty stated. “It’s attempting to be the perfect I can each single day, no matter that stage is.”

Different winners included former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova and American Shelby Rogers.

Feliciano Lopez, at 39 the oldest participant within the males’s draw, rallied previous No. 31 Lorenzo Sonego 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Lopez is showing at his seventy fifth consecutive Grand Slam singles occasion, a males’s report.

Barty misplaced solely 10 factors within the opening spherical, and her match towards Gavrilova was equally lopsided till the wobbly end. She led 5-2 within the second set however was damaged twice serving for the victory.

Within the tiebreaker Barty misplaced a number of ugly factors. Gavrilova, a wild card, did not convert two set factors and dedicated unforced errors to finish the ultimate three rallies.

The 2 mates then shared a hug on the web.

“Whenever you play one other Aussie, rankings exit the window, expertise goes out the window,” Barty stated. “Usually you understand one another so properly. It’s all the time going to be a tough match.”

Rogers reached the third spherical on the Australian Open for the primary time by beating Olga Danilovic 6-2, 6-3. Rogers, 28, got here into the match with a profession report of 1-4 in Melbourne, however her rating and fortunes have been on the rise of late.

Australian Open 2021 Sofia Kenins title defence ends in second round Ashleigh Barty Karolina Pliskova advance

Shelby Rogers hit seven aces in her win and misplaced solely three factors on her first serve. AP

She reached the quarterfinals on the U.S. Open for the primary time final September, and her year-end rating was a career-best No. 58. Rogers was sidelined for 14 months by a knee harm sustained in early 2018, and her rating on the finish of that yr was 780th.

She had little bother with Danilovic, a qualifier from Serbia ranked 183rd. The small crowd on Court docket 3 included Novak Djokovic, who sat behind the baseline shouting encourage to his fellow Serb.

Pliskova, seeded sixth, superior by beating American Danielle Collins 7-5, 6-2. Pliskova misplaced serve twice in a seesaw first set however pulled it out after which pulled away to beat Collins, a 2019 semifinalist at Melbourne Park.

Pliskova has gained 65 matches in Grand Slams however remains to be looking for her first main title. She was runner-up to Angelique Kerber on the 2016 U.S. Open.

No. 11 Belinda Bencic outlasted Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, and No. 18 Elise Mertens defeated Zhu Lin 7-6 (8), 6-1.

In males’s play, No. 7 Andrey Rublev swept Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (8).

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