American World No.4 Sofia Kenin met compatriot Jessica Pegula in the Round of 16 match in WTA 500 Melbourne. After a grueling encounter, the defending Australian Open champion won the match 7-5, 5-7, 2-6.
The 22-year-old seemed off her natural game since the start of the match. Also, Pegula’s strength weighed heavy on the young American as she tried to steer past her. As a result, they both dragged the match into a deciding set.
Sofia Kenin makes a comeback from a set down
The current World No.62 showed the audience in 1573 Arena that she was the better player today. Hitting powerful groundstrokes, even her serve gave her an edge over the reigning French Open finalist.
On the other side, Sofia Kenin got a valuable lesson in the first set of the match. She realized that to win the game, she would need to play as the defending champion of the Australian Open.
It started with Jessica ruling the game hands-on. And while Sofia tried to stop her flow, she lost the first set 7-5. Going in the break, Kenin was disappointed but did not accept the setback as a final result.
In the following set, the former World No.55 continued her good form by getting a three-game lead against Sofia. However, following that, something clicked and the young American began to flourish on the court.
After Aryna Sabalenka, and Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin could’ve joined the list of big upsets in WTA 500 Melbourne. But she managed to escape that fate by forcing a deciding set.
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Sofia is getting ready to defend her Australian Open title
For the decider set, the 22-year-old knew exactly what she had to do. Sofia gave fewer chances to Jessica to get into position for clean shots, which worked like a charm.
Steadily, the young American won two games and Jessica subsequently began to lose her cool, along with the match.
Frustrated, the 26-year-old started hitting balls as she realized that the game was slipping through her hands. As for Sofia, she carried her momentum and played every game with a thorough discipline.
In the end, it was a great win for Kenin. Watch how she won her match-point.
Hopefully, she will get her performance going on in the next round of the tournament. It will be a perfect way for her to prepare to defend her Major title in Australia.
Will Sofia Kenin defend her Australian Open title?