Sofia Kenin faced an unexpected early challenge to open her title defense at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
The No. 4 seed American was broken in the fourth game of her opening match and found herself in a 3-1 hole to Australian Maddison Inglis.
Inglis turned her 3-1 edge in the first set into a 5-4 advantage before Kenin rallied for a 7-5 win.
Inglis made Kenin work for the second set as well, but the reigning WTA Player of the Year prevailed to advance to the second round, 7-5, 6-4.
Coco Gauff rolls past Jil Teichmann
Coco Gauff had no issue getting out of the first round on Tuesday.
Gauff cruised past Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann in straight sets 6-3, 6-2. The 16-year-old needed just 56 minutes to grab the win at John Cain Arena, too, picking up her second win in two weeks over Teichmann. Gauff finished the day with eight aces, and converted all three of her break points.
Gauff will take on No. 5 Elina Svitolina, who won her match against the Czech Republic’s Marie Bouzkova in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (5).
American Jessica Pegula upends No. 12 seed Victoria Azarenka
Another former champ wasn’t able to rally from her first-round deficit. American Jessica Pegula pulled off the biggest upset of the first round on Tuesday with a straight-sets victory over No. 12 seed Victoria Azarenka, 7-5, 6-4.
After winning the first set, Pegula was in control of the second when Azarenka required a medical break as she appeared to struggle with her breathing while trailing, 4-2. She returned to the court after a brief break to win the game. But Pegula maintained control of the set to eliminate the two-time Australian Open champion (2012, 13) and advance to the second round.
Pegula, 26, is the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Kim and Terry Pegula. Her Citi Open championship in 2019 is her sole WTA singles title.
Favorites roll into Round 2
Kenin joins a group of Day 1 favorites who advanced to the second round, including Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka. Though her road was tougher than most.
Kenin, 22, is coming off a career year that saw her advance to the French Open final in addition to defeating world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty en route to last year’s Australian Open Final victory over Garbiñe Muguruza.
She advances to take on the winner between Latvia’s Anastasija Sevastova and Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi in the second round.
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