By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday August 23, 2020
Sofia Kenin has been eager to get back to the tour to keep riding the momentum that she created by winning the Australian Open in January, but on Sunday at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the American wasn’t feeling it.
She struggled, sputtered and eventually fell to France’s Alizé Cornet in two sets, 6-1 7-6(7).
“It wasn’t easy,” the World No. 4 explained in a virtual press conference on Sunday. “Obviously it didn’t feel like I had any rhythm. I don’t know why I let that happen. I felt like I was playing well. Of course she was playing well, so I’m not taking any creds from her. I literally couldn’t feel the ball, like literally two sets. I don’t even know how I came back, to be honest. I just really didn’t feel my game at all today.”
On the other side of the net, Cornet had her troubles as well. The Frenchwoman said she was going through some serious doubts as Kenin rallied from two match points and 2-5 down in the second set to lead 6-5.
Here is how Cornet explained the experience:
“I don’t know what happened, she saved the match point, and then I got tight,” Cornet said. “I started double faulting. I started not releasing my forehand anymore, being really shaky with my forehand. Yeah, it turned around because she’s a great player. She’s a Grand Slam winner. She didn’t let go her chance.”
The victory was Cornet’s 20th career Top 10 win and she has now gone 8-9 against the Top 5 since the beginning of 2014.
— Chris Oddo (@TheFanChild) August 24, 2020
“What I’m really proud of is my resilience,” she said after the win. “You know, I stayed in the fight. I took it to the tiebreak and finally won the match. Mentally it was not easy, so, yeah, I’m proud of this. But phoof, at 6-5 down in the second, I was, like, ‘No, that cannot happen. Why am I playing tennis? This is a crazy sport.’And so many other thoughts but you don’t want to know.”
Top Seed Pliskova Also Falls
Day 2 of the Western and Southern Open wasn’t kind to top-seeded and 2016 champion Karolina Pliskova either. The Czech was dropped by Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, 7-5, 6-4.
“She won quite a tough match in the first round, so I think definitely she had nothing to lose today,” Pliskova said. “She was playing free. She was playing quite good tennis. But it was not that I could not win this match.”
Kudermetova notched her third Top 10 win. She’ll face either Elise Mertens or Kristina Mladenovic in the round of 16.