It would be expected that a No.2 seed and grand slam winner in good form would be drawing a lot of attention heading into the second week of a tournament but that has not been the case for Sofia Kenin. It would not be a surprise if the American makes at least the semi finals, with Victoria Azarenka the expected opponent should she make it past Elise Mertens.
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Mertens continues to develop a reputation for being a solid top 20 player and something of a flat track bully, performing very well against players perceived to be a class below her. The latest win for her came against Caty McNally with the Belgian hitting 22 winners in the 7-5 6-1 win. It has been a good follow up to her Western & Southern Open semi final, which she eventually lost to Naomi Osaka after the match was initially delayed.
Kenin saw off an offensive barrage from Ons Jabeur to make it into round four. The Tunisian hit 35 winners to Kenin’s 14 but it was the American who delivered at key moments, including reeling off three straight tiebreak points in the opening set of her 7-6 6-3 win. “It was the best she’s played against me,” Kenin said after. “Obviously I played her a few times, so I know her game well. She was serving, moving well. It was a really tough battle. She never let up. It was really close.
Mertens has lost her last eight matches against the top ten and all expectations are that that streak will be extended to nine. Kenin has developed a reputation as one of the toughest players on tour but also a great problem solver. She is already 2-0 against Mertens, having won in Mallorca and Wuhan last year. “Obviously it’s going to be really physical. She’s playing well. She’s had a lot of matches. Big serve. Big hitter. It’s going to be a good matchup.” she said.
Prediction – Sofia Kenin in straight sets