AUS Open 2021: Kenin made a scratchy start Tuesday to her title defence.© AFP
An angry Sofia Kenin made a scratchy start Tuesday to her Australian Open title defence with an unconvincing victory over wildcard Maddison Inglis. The fourth seed prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 26 minutes, with the American vocal throughout and frustrated with her patchy performance.
“I’m obviously not happy with the way I played,” said Kenin, who made 27 unforced errors. “Being the first round, there were nerves for me but I’m happy to get through.”
The 22-year-old’s return to the scene of her stunning breakthrough Grand Slam title, where she beat Garbine Muguruza in three sets, has been rocky after losing in the warm-up Yarra Valley Classic in the quarter-finals to the Spaniard.
She left the court then in tears and later declared she was troubled by a left groin injury, which she said might have been attributed to the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine on arrival in Australia.
Moscow-born Kenin, playing with the roof open on Rod Laver Arena, appeared to move freely on Tuesday but struggled against the gritty Australian during a tight first set marked by long baseline rallies.
She eventually shrugged off the 23-year-old Inglis, who has not won a Grand Slam match in four attempts.
Kenin next plays Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova or in-form Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who was runner-up in the warm-up Gippsland Trophy.
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