The WTA 250 warm-up ahead of the Australian Open taking place in Hobart has completed its 1st-round of matches that saw the demise of 2nd-seeded Elise Mertens, No 3 seed Alizé Cornet and Sloane Stephens, the 4th seed, dispatched respectively by Matyna Zanevska, a Belgian qualifier, Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto and America’s Lauren Davis.
I felt really good, conditions were a little bit tough, but I felt like I played a solid match so I’m super happy. I played here a few years ago, so I’m kind of used to this weather, so I’m just trying to use this to my advantage. Sofia Kenin
Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, though, looked in good form as she beat China’s Zhu Lin, 6-2 6-2, in her opener.
“I felt really good, conditions were a little bit tough, but I felt like I played a solid match so I’m super happy,” said Kenin, who was wild-carded into the main draw and plays Zanevska in the next round. “I played here a few years ago, so I’m kind of used to this weather, so I’m just trying to use this to my advantage.”
The 24-year-old won her first WTA title in Hobart in 2019, and returned to Australia the following year to claim a Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park.
Little has gone right for the one-time prodigy since, however, with illness, injury and off-court issues precipitating a tumble down the world rankings.
“I feel like I’m getting there,” added Kenin, now ranked 143 in the world. “I’m happy with the way I’m starting, knock on wood; I’m healthy, injury-free, so I’m just going to continue doing my best.”
Another former Hobart champion, Cornet from France, was sent packing by Cocciaretto at the Domain Tennis Centre on Tuesday night.
Cocciaretto, ranked No 64, takes on fellow Italian Jasmine Paolini next.
On Monday, Davis easily dispatched Stephens, the former US Open champion who received a wild-card into the draw, 6-2 6-2, in just under an hour-and-a-half, and will face Belgian Ysaline Bonaventure, a 6-7(2) 6-2 6-2 winner over Tamara Zidansek, a qualifier from Slovenia.
Another qualifier, Nuria Parrizas Diaz from Spain, moved into the round 2 by outpacing Egyptian Mayar Sherif, 2-6 6-2 6-1, and the World No 70 next faces Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, the No 8 seed, who saw her way past American Claire Liu, 6-2 6-4.
Top seeded Czech Matia Bouzkova edged past Romania’s Jacqueline Cristian, 7-6(2) 6-3, on Monday, to set up a meeting with Anna Blinkova, a Russian qualifier, who defeated Lucia Bronzetti, 6-4 6-3.
Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina, the 5th seed, scored a comfortable 6-2 6-1 win over Canadian Rebecca Marino, and takes on Tatjana Maria in round 2 after the German dispatched local wild-card Talia Gibson, 6-3 6-2; while the No 6 seed, Bernarda Pera saw off American compatriot Madison Brengle, 6-4 6-4, and will meet another German in Laura Siegemund, who outran Czech qualifier Tereza Martincova, 5-7 6-1 6-2.
In the last bracket of the 2nd-round to be played on Tuesday, Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck upset the No 7 seed Magda Linette from Poland, 6-4 1-6 6-4, after a 2 hours and 4 minute encounter.