No. 1 Iga Swiatek shakes off slow start in Aussie opener

League: Tennis

Posted on: 16 Jan, 2024 at 03:59 AM

Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Sofia Kenin had a tough first-round draw at the Australian Open -- top-seeded Polish superstar Iga Swiatek -- as the American continued to try to find her stride.

Kenin, who won the 2020 Australian Open and lost to Swiatek in the 2020 French Open final, failed while serving for the first set and wound up losing 7-6 (2), 6-2 on Tuesday (Australia time) in Melbourne.

Now ranked 41st in the world, Kenin led 3-1 in the opening set and served at 5-4 before Swiatek pulled level. Swiatek won three of the first four points that Kenin served in the tiebreaker to pull away.

In the second set, Swiatek captured the final four games, serving out the match at love to seal the victory in 1 hour, 51 minutes.

Swiatek battled the heat as well as Kenin.

"It wasn't easy at the beginning to find my rhythm," Swiatek said. "I felt a little bit off, and I felt like Sofia did everything to keep it that way. Huge respect to her ... but I'm happy that I managed to get my level up in the second set."

The win was Swiatek's 17th in a row, including championships at Beijing and the WTA Finals in Cancun last year, then three in the United Cup to open 2024.

Kenin saw her record slip to 1-3 this year after she lost three of her final four matches last year.

In other action early Tuesday, No. 14 Russian Daria Kasatkina defeated the United States' Peyton Stearns 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.

Unseeded American Sloane Stephens rolled past Australian Olivia Gadecki 6-3, 6-1, and Italian Martina Trevisan took down Mexico's Renata Zarazua 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Italy's Elisabetta Cocciaretto downed Swiss qualifier Lulu Sun 6-1, 7-5.

--Field Level Media