Sofia Kenin: Defending champion moved to tears after Australian Open defeat

The American, who was moved to tears in her post-match press convention, seemed manner off her finest and was overwhelmed in straight units 6-Three 6-2 in simply over an hour.

The 22-year-old Kenin had admitted to combating the strain that comes with being champion and it confirmed — she made 22 unforced errors towards the skilled Kanepi, who dominated all through along with her aggression.

“I clearly felt like I could not discover my rhythm. I used to be clearly too nervous,” mentioned Kenin, who praised Kanepi’s efficiency.

“I am not there 100% bodily or mentally,” added Kenin. “My sport, all the things, simply feels actually off. Clearly, it isn’t good. I simply could not actually deal with the strain. I am not clearly used to this.”

Regardless of a breakthrough season final yr — profitable in Melbourne and reaching the ultimate of the French Open — nerves have been a difficulty for Kenin.

Even after taking part in effectively in her first-round victory, she mentioned she struggled to handle her feelings on courtroom.

Kenin’s exit comes simply days after French participant Gael Monfils was additionally visibly emotional after being knocked out of the event. He too mentioned he struggled with outdoors strain and poor type coming into this event after such a troublesome yr.

If Kenin struggled with the load of expectation on her, that should not take something away from Estonian Kanepi, who hit 22 winners and was completely deserving of victory. She is going to now face Croatia’s Donna Vekic within the third spherical.

“I served rather well right this moment, I believe this helped loads,” mentioned the 35-year-old Kanepi. “My sport plan was to play aggressive as I normally do.”

Sofia Kenin says she struggled with the pressure of being the defending champion.

Barty battles via

Elsewhere, world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty progressed into the subsequent spherical after beating fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova 6-1 7-6 (9-7).

Barty, who spent nearly a yr off the tour amid the pandemic, had received her first-round tie with out dropping a single sport however was given a a lot sterner take a look at on Thursday.

After breezing via the opening set, Australian Barty was pressured right into a nail-biting tie-break to settle the competition.

“I believe it is simply attempting to be the most effective I could be each day, no matter that stage is,” Barty mentioned after the match.

“Simply ensuring that I apply myself the most effective that I can in order that whatever the consequence I can stroll off the courtroom with my head held excessive.

“Clearly having 12 months off is a bit of bit rusty, however actually blissful how I have been in a position to battle via the final couple of weeks.”

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