Kenin falls to Kaia, Nadal rolls on

Melbourne, February 11

Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was unable to bear the pressure of defending her maiden Grand Slam title as the American bowed out in the second round in tears on Thursday following a 6-3 6-2 loss to Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi.

Kenin, who was also runner-up at the French Open last year, crumbled in 64 minutes and the 22-year-old admitted the burden of expectation took its toll.

Fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev celebrated his 25th birthday in style with a 6-2 7-5 6-1 win over Roberto Carballes Baena while Rafa Nadal overcame the challenge of Michael Mmoh as well as an unruly spectator in a 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory.

Heavily bandaged top seed Ash Barty survived a near-collapse in the second set from 5-2 to come away with a 6-1 7-6(7) victory over fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova to set up a third round match with Russian 29th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.

An all-Italian affair saw Fabio Fognini beat Salvatore Caruso 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-3 7-6(12) which ended in a shouting match before the court supervisor was forced to intervene but neither player was willing to discuss what was said after the match.

A day after local favourite Nick Kyrgios won in five sets, the crowd at the John Cain Arena got their money’s worth again as Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas beat 267th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7(5) 6-4 6-1 6-7(5) 6-4 in a battle lasting over 4-1/2 hours.

Ukraine’s fifth seed Elina Svitolina produced a clinical display to beat American teenager Coco Gauff 6-4 6-3.

Home favourite Alex de Minaur struck 30 winners en route a dominant 6-3 6-3 7-5 victory over Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas.

Italy’s 16th seed Fabio Fognini needed almost four hours to find a way past Salvatore Caruso, defeating his compatriot 4-6 6-2 2-6 6-3 7-6(12) on John Cain Arena court to reach the third round for a fourth straight year.

Croatian 22nd seed Borna Coric crashed out following a 6-4 6-2 4-6 6-4 defeat to American Mackenzie McDonald.

Estonian 21st seed Anett Kontaveit recovered from a shaky start to beat Britain’s Heather Watson 6-7(5) 6-4 6-2 and set up a third-round meeting with American Shelby Rogers. — Reuters

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