Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, seeded fourth, booked smooth passage into the third round of the US Open on Thursday, defeating American countrywoman Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-3.

The 104th-ranked Fernandez had been seeking her second career Top 10 win after defeating Belinda Bencic in Fed Cup play in March.

The outsider defeated former Open finalist Zvonareva in the first round.

Former Open junior finalist Kenin will play the third round here for the fourth straight year’ she has never gotten past that stage, losing to Maria Sharapova (2017), Karolina Pliskova (2018) and Madison Keys (2019).

Reigning Australian Open Champion Sofia Kenin Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

“Today was a good win. I’m really proud of myself, the way I played. She’s a tough player.

“I knew she’s going to give me different shots, different looks.

 She played a good match. I just feel like I just played stable today.”

Double Grand Slam winner and 10th seed Garbiñe Muguruza snapped a racquet head clean off after losing the opening set against Tsvetana Pironkova but was unable to halt the slide to a 7-5,6-3, defeat.

The Bulgarian winner was playing her first match in more than three years (Wimbledon 2017)  after leaving the game to start a family.

 “I didn’t expect my first tournament to be so good and to play so well. It’s welcome! That’s why I came back, for these matches and these stages.

“It was very difficult to get into the match, she was swinging pretty well,” Pironkova said. “It took me time to adjust my game. I was just trying to be there and put the ball in the court.

“Little by little, I found my rhythm and I started swinging well. I’m very, very happy I won this match.” 

Muguruza played the Australian Open final against Kenin in January, the Spaniard has reached the Open third round only once in eight tries.

“It’s true that historically the US Open doesn’t seem to have a lot of success for now, the first rounds, over the years,” Muguruza said.

“The decision to come here I made two days before arriving. It was really just giving me the chance to compete. 

“I didn’t feel quite prepared. I just told my myself to try to compete, see what Ican take out of it, just give myself a chance.”

British ninth seed Johanna Konta went down to a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 loss in two hours against Sorona Cirstea, with the No. 77 winning in two hours for a career-best showing here.

Johanna Konta photo USTA

“My level was a lot higher than hers in the first set. But she’s a great player,” Konta said. “She’s had some pretty amazing results in her career. 

“She obviously raised her level. We were battling kind of toe-to-toe really. She just was better in the end.”

Amanda Anisimova won a battle of US teenagers, with the 19-year-old beating Katerina Scott, 16, with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 comeback win.

The American felt lucky to get through after some struggles.

“I just kept fighting and staying strong. I’m really happy with that today because in tennis, like, it can slip away from you any second.”


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