Kaia Kanepi KOs defending champ Sofia Kenin at 2021 Australian Open

By Field Level Media
Aug 10, 2019; Mason, OH, USA; Kaia Kanepi (EST) returns a shot against Barbora Strycova (CZE) during the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Defending champion Sofia Kenin was bounced from the Australian Open on Thursday.

Kaia Kanepi of Estonia recorded 10 aces en route to dismissing the fourth-seeded Kenin with a 6-3, 6-2 decision in the second round in Melbourne. The 35-year-old Kanepi needed just 64 minutes to win the match.

“I’ll take one match at a time and one tournament at a time and it all depends how I feel and how the opponent plays and so on,” Kanepi said. “But I played good today, I served really good and I think it was a good win.”

Kenin struggled to come to grips with her latest setback.

“I obviously felt like I’m not there 100 percent — physically, mentally, my game. Everything just feels real off, obviously. It’s not good,” Kenin said. “I mean, I just — I know I couldn’t really handle the pressure.”

Kanepi advances to face No. 28 seed Donna Vekic of Croatia. Vekic posted a 6-2, 6-2 win over Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.

Also on Thursday, fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine recorded a 6-4, 6-3 win over Coco Gauff in a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.

Read More: No. 2 seed Simona Halep rallies to advance at Australian Open

Svitolina, who has twice reached the tournament’s quarterfinals, said she missed being able to feed off the crowd.

“I missed that so much,” Svitolina said. “I knew that Coco is all the time playing with a crowd, like fired up. So I was expecting her to be straight into the match and playing well. I think I faced a break point the first game, and then from then on I was just pushing myself and I was playing great tennis. It was a really great performance.”

Svitolina saved all four break points against her to set up a match against No. 26 seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan. Putintseva notched a 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 win over Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium.

Other seeded winners on Thursday were No. 6 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, No. 11 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, No. 18 Elise Mertens of Belgium, No. 21 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, No. 22 Jennifer Brady and No. 29 Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia.

Pliskova posted a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Danielle Collins, Bencic outlasted Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 and Mertens collected a 7-6 (8), 6-1 victory over Lin Zhu of China. Kontaveit notched a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 victory over Heather Watson of Great Britain, Brady breezed to a 6-1, 6-2 win over fellow American Madison Brengle and Alexandrova secured a 6-3, 7-6 (4) triumph over Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.

Read More: No. 1 Novak Djokovic advances in Australia; Stan Wawrinka out

–Field Level Media