AUSTRALIAN OPEN: Defending Champion Kenin Loses

2021 Australian Open results

Melbourne, Australia

Kanepi Upsets Defending Champion

American [4] Sofia Kenin and defending champion could not get by the power of the Estonian.  [65] Kaia Kanepi knows how to play and knows how to beat the top players when she is healthy.  The thirty-five-year-old woman has had her career derailed by numerous injuries and has made multiple comebacks.  Looking the fittest and healthiest I have seen her in a long time, Kanepi was ready to play and she crushed the American 6-3, 6-2.

Kenin was understandably distressed in her press conference, “almost in tears”, about not finding or feeling her game since her arrival in Australia.  Unfortunately, she hasn’t been feeling her game since that loss in the 2020 Roland Garros final. 

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Kenin Loses Due To Lack Of Confidence

It’s a blow to the ego and sometimes processing the emotions that comes with such a big loss takes time.  It does not help that playing competitively has become restricted because of the pandemic; however, all the players are feeling this “added pressure of uncertainty and fear”. 

At twenty-two, she is young enough to bounce back.  Does she have the right tools and team to do that?  I don’t know, but I hope she does because I love her “feisty attitude”.  She has to start believing in herself again.

America’s sweetheart, [48] Coco Gauff, lost to [5] Elina Svitolina (UKR) 3-6, 3-6.

[40] Danielle Collins lost 5-7, 2-6 to [6] Karolina Pliskova (CZE). Collins was hoping to notch another victory over the Czech player, but Pliskova stepped up her game. [53] Tommy Paul had opportunities.  After claiming the first set against [24] Casper Ruud (NOR), Paul went on a walk-about.  A pity, the Norwegian had no intentions of relinquishing the lead and he went on to win 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 7-5.

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Impressive American Wins

[22] Jennifer Brady crushed fellow country-woman [85] Madison Brengle 6-1, 6-2. Brady looks confident and it shows in her game.

[57] Shelby Rogers is also playing well again post her knee injury and surgery. Rogers defeated [183] Olga Danilovic (SRB) 6-2, 6-3 to get to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

[61] Jessica Pegula crushed former US Open champion, [112] Samantha Stosur, 6-0, 6-1.

[192] Mackenzie McDonald is showing why he was talked about for a long time.  With the 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 victory over [22] Borna Coric (CRO), the American advances to the third round of the Australian Open for the first time.

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How The Seeds Fared

Most of the seeded players won their matches today. There were two losses on the men’s side and one on the women’s (see above).

[31] Lorenzo Sonego (ITA) lost a heart-breaker. The Italian was leading two sets to none and lost his way completely.  The veteran, thirty-nine-year-old [65] Feliciano Lopez (ESP), took advantage of the opportunity.  It’s one of those matches that will leave scars for the loser; however, credit Lopez who fought hard for the comeback 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory.

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