Kenin’s Melbourne woes worsen with loss to unranked Australian teen

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2021 Sofia Kenin of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Estonia's Kaia Kanepi REUTERS/Loren Elliott

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – After failing to defend her Australian Open title, Sofia Kenin’s trip to Melbourne got even worse on Sunday when the American suffered a shock defeat by unranked local teenager Olivia Gadecki in the second round of the Phillip Island Trophy.

Three days earlier, Kenin had admitted to struggling under the pressure of defending her maiden Grand Slam title as she was beaten 6-3 6-2 by Estonian Kaia Kanepi on Margaret Court Arena.

Kenin went on to take a wildcard into the WTA 250 event, also taking place on the Melbourne Park grounds, but was knocked out by the 18-year-old Gadecki 2-6 7-6(4) 6-4.

Watched by world number one and fellow Queenslander Ash Barty, Gadecki saved two break points in the final game before serving out for the biggest win of her fledgling career.

“As soon as that match was finished, I was so happy that I even started crying,” Gadecki said. “I’ve never felt this way before either, so I’m still trying to process it.

“This win means that I’m not far, and I can really do this. I feel like I can really make this dream of mine a reality.”