“Annoyed” Sofia Kenin played with tears in her eyes as she made a tough start on Tuesday against local wildcard Maddison Inglis, as she struggles with the pressure to defend her Australian Open title. The fourth seed prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in an hour and 26 minutes, with the American voice volatile and frustrated by his patchy performance.
“I was obviously pretty bored the whole game,” said Kenin, who committed 27 unforced errors. “There were tears. The eyes were a little wet during the game.
“I tried to calm myself down, to put that aside. I have to deal with my emotions, let off steam before the game. As the game went, luckily everything was going well.”
The 22-year-old’s return to the scene of her stunning Grand Slam title, where she beat Garbine Muguruza in three sets, has been difficult after losing in the Yarra Valley Classic warm-up in the quarter-finals to the Spaniard. .
She left the court then in tears and later said she was troubled by a left groin injury, which she said could have been attributed to the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine at his arrival in Australia.
Kenin said she has yet to find solace with her new role in defending a Slam.
“I was nervous… I’m obviously tight,” she said. “I was not there mentally 100%.
“I kind of have to improve myself if I’m going to do well here. Obviously, I don’t have any tips because this is the first time I’ve seen this.
“I hope my emotions will somehow subside as the matches go on. We’ll see. I can’t promise anything.”
Moscow-born Kenin, playing with the roof open on Rod Laver Arena, appeared to move freely but struggled against the tough Australian in a tight first set marked by long grassroots rallies.
She ultimately ignored Inglis, 23, who has failed to win a Grand Slam match in four attempts.
Kenin then plays in form Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, who was a finalist in the Gippsland Trophy warm-up.
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