(Melbourne) The Australian Open women’s singles seed slaughter continued Thursday (Melbourne time), to the point where the tournament will crown a new champion in 2021.
Two days after delivering a performance he had not fully satisfied, American Sofia Kenin, winner of the tournament last year, was shown the door of the exit in an unceremonious manner.
The 22-year-old American, fourth seed, lost in two sets of 6-3, 6-2 to Kaia Kanepi, a 35-year-old Estonian who is at 65e rank in the WTA standings.
Finalist this weekend at the Gippsland Trophy, one of three WTA preparatory tournaments ahead of the first Grand Slam meeting of the season, Kanepi only needed 64 minutes to defeat Kenin.
She achieved this by making 10 aces, including one to close the match, making just two double faults and amassing as many winning strokes, 22, as Kenin made unforced errors,
Kenin is the third seed of the first nine to be eliminated, after Canada’s Bianca Andreesscu (8e) and Czech Petra Kvitová (9e).
“I served really well. I think it helped a lot. My game plan was to play with fighting spirit, as I usually do, ”said Kanepi.
The new Melbourne champion could be home favorite Ashleigh Barty, although she didn’t deliver as convincing a performance as in her first-round match two days earlier.
After serving Danka Kovinić a 6-0 and 6-0 correction, the world number one collected a much closer victory of 6-1 and 7-6 (7) over her compatriot Daria Gavrilova.
While giving Kovinić just 10 points, Barty was much more irregular against Gavrilova, committing 34 unforced errors.
“When you go up against another Australian, the rankings don’t hold up, the experience doesn’t hold up,” Barty said. It will always be a complicated game. ”
Barty in particular had trouble with his serve. She suffered four damages, including one as she tried to end the game with a 5-4 lead.
Barty is trying to become the first Australian to win the women’s title in Melbourne since Chris O’Neill in 1978.
“It’s a different challenge every day. It’s about being the best player you can be every day, no matter the level. ”
In another second-round match, sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic advanced to the third round with a two-set 7-5, 6-2 win over American Danielle Collins.
In a tight first round, Pliskova suffered two service breakdowns. She was able to pull herself together to win this first set and was never really threatened afterwards. Pliskova ended the clash with seven aces.
Pliskova now has 65 Grand Slam wins, but is still looking for a first major tournament triumph. In 2016, she reached the US Open final but lost to Angelique Kerber.
Earlier today, American Shelby Rogers reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in her career, following her victory over qualifier Olga Danilovic of Serbia, 6- 2, 6-3, Thursday, at Melbourne Park.
Rogers had seven aces and lost just three points on his first serves.
In other women’s singles matches, Czech Karolina Muchova (25e), as well as the Belgian Elise Mertens (18e) earned their third round bypass with wins in two sets.