Defending champion Kenin falls in round 2 of Australian Open

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MELBOURNE, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — The 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin crashed out of this year’s tournament in just the second round on Thursday, losing 6-3, 6-2, to Kaia Kanepi of Estonia.

The 22-year-old American beat Garbine Muguruza in last year’s final to claim her first ever Grand Slam title.

“I feel like everyone was always asking me, ‘Do you see yourself getting there and winning again?” Kenin said in a post-match press conference.

“I felt really nervous. I haven’t felt my game for, like, I don’t know how long, but I haven’t really felt my game so well, even in my first round.”

Meanwhile, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas was humbled by local wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis. The fifth seed scraped through to round three in a four and a half hour epic, with a finishing score of 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 5-4.

Both players drew enthusiastic support from spectators, despite the main stage, the Rod Laver Arena, being less than half full due to COVID-19.

“I think that’s a great move from Tennis Australia…to let people come watch because we played a couple of Grand Slams last year that were empty and it’s great having that energy back and feeling like I’m playing tennis again,” Tsitsipas said in a post-match interview.

Earlier, Ash Barty held on to progress in straight sets against her second round opponent, fellow-Aussie Daria Gavrilova, who forced the world No. 1 to a second set tiebreak, 6-1, 7-6 (9-7).

Rafael Nadal also progressed after beating American Michael Mmoh 6-1, 6-4, 6-2. He has joined in round three by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev who beat Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2, 7-5, 6-1. Enditem

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