There has been very little focus on the winner of the only slam this year despite Sofia Kenin also being the No.2 seed in this tournament. She faces a tough round three matchup against an improving opponent in Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian will improve on her current career high ranking just outside the top 30 and it would be no surprise to see her pushing for the Top 10 sooner rather than later.
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Jabeur’s ranking is in large part due to her impressive quarter final run in Melbourne. 2020 has seen some good wins for her including Johanna Konta, Karolina Pliskova and most recently Madison Keys at the Western & Southern Open. She has won both her matches this week in straight sets, with an often dangerous Kaia Kanepi seen off in round two.
Kenin bounced back from her Alize Cornet last week with two comfortable wins to begin the tournament. She beat Yanina Wickmayer and Leylah Annie Fernandez in straight sets, saving all five break points faced across the two matches. “I feel much more settled. I feel like I found a groove. I’m playing well in those two matches. I’m really focused on every shot. Obviously, I wasn’t feeling great leading up to this event. I’m just trying to focus a bit more. It’s helping me. I’m playing some really good tennis. Serving really well these past two matches. I’m just really happy.” she said after.
Kenin will take heart from a career 4-1 record against Jabeur, including at the Australian Open earlier in the year. “It’s just a matter of taking my chances, matter of executing my shots, serving well, playing my aggressive game. I feel like it’s going to be a bit tougher tomorrow since she knows my game and she lost to me last time in Australia. I feel like I know her game well, as well. We’ll see how it’s going to go. It should be a good match.” she said. Kenin’s run to the Australian Open title showcased her as one of the most intelligent and tough players on the tour and she cannot be written off in New York either if she remains in confident form.
Prediction – Sofia Kenin in three sets