Melbourne champion Sofia Kenin eases into second round at 2020 US Open
The Australian Open champion put in a dominant display to reach the second round in New York.
Sofia Kenin of the United States returns the ball during her Women's Singles first round match against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium on Day Two of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Wickmayer, the 2009 semi-finalist in New York, held three break points to draw level at 2-2 but second seed Kenin fended off each of those with a string of booming forehands.
The 21-year-old Kenin broke once more to take control of the match before holding to love to take the opening set in just 37 minutes.
Kenin started the second set just like the first to take an early lead as Wickmayer increasingly struggled with her service rhythm.
The Belgian dished out two double faults, allowing Kenin to convert her fourth break point opportunity of the match on her way to a convincing victory.
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Kenin, the only reigning Grand Slam champion in the women's singles draw after Ash Barty (French Open holder), Simona Halep (Wimbledon) and Bianca Andreescu (U.S. Open) opted out of travelling to New York because of the coronavirus pandemic, is hoping to mount another title charge in New York, where she has never progressed beyond the third round.
"I feel like coming off after winning Aussie, definitely did a lot for my confidence," Kenin said. "I tried to not feel so much pressure, but I just handled the situation really well.
"I feel like I just play my best tennis here. It's unfortunate the fans are not here, but I just try to do the best I can under the circumstances."
The Open is being played without any fans in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed almost 190,000 lives in the United States.
Second seed Kenin will next face Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez, who defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-4 7-5.