Almost a year ago, the then 21-year-old Sofia Kenin must have been the happiest person in the world with her maiden Grand Slam title in the Australian open 2020.
But alas, her exit from this year’s tournament couldn’t be more different than her last venture. A teary-eyed Kenin could be seen hobbling away from the center court after a straight-sets 3-6,2-6 loss against Kaia Kanepi in the second round.
The 22-year-old defending champion has struggled to handle expectations in Melbourne and was no match for the in-form Estonian, who wrapped up the game in just over an hour. Kanepi will next face off against 28th seed Donna Vekic of Croatia next.
Sofia’s misadventure-Quarantine woes or title defense pressure
Sofia Kenin looked a pale shadow of the player that won her first major title at Melbourne Park and reached the French Open final last season as she succumbed 6-3 6-2 to Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi on Margaret Court Arena.
Ashen-faced, with her eyes already blotchy before she sat down for her post-match media conference, Sofia Kenin struggled to hold back the tears as she explained what had happened out on the court.
“My head wasn’t there,” Sofia said. “Obviously I’m not going to take any credit away from her. She played really well at those good points.”
“I had chances. I just couldn’t take it. I obviously know why because the nerves big-time got to me.”
The tears returned again when she was asked about the pressure of defending the title, adding that she knew retaining the trophy would be a tall order given her mental state.
“I’m not there 100% physically, mentally, my game. Everything just feels real off obviously. It’s not good,” she added.
“It’s weird. I’ve been practicing for two weeks. Luckily I’ve been able to practice. I felt fine in practice. Just couldn’t do that in the game.”Kenin concluded
Rohan Bopanna remains the lone Indian at the Australian open 2021-
It was yet another disappointing day for the Indians at the Australian Open, with a loss in the women’s doubles and men’s doubles. Divij Sharan, the second-highest ranked Indian doubles player, crashed out in the first round along with partner Igor Zelenay from Slovakia. The unseeded pair failed to get the better of Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Yannick Hanfmann, losing 1-6, 4-6 in just over an hour.
Meanwhile, Ankita Raina, the only Indian woman at the Australian Open, and her partner Mihaela Buzărnescu excited in the first round of the women’s doubles event, losing to Australian wildcards Belinda Woolcock and Olivia Gadecki 3-6, 0-6.
With Sharan and Raina’s loss, India’s hopes in the men’s and women’s doubles came to an end. Rohan Bopanna remains the lone Indian left standing in the tournament