Sofia Kenin and Katerina Siniakova Follow French Open Upsets With Letdowns – Smart Media Magazine

Sofia Kenin and Katerina Siniakova Follow French Open Upsets With Letdowns


PARIS — Beating the 23-time major singles champion Serena Williams or No. 1-ranked Naomi Osaka at the French Open was one thing. Following up those upsets with other victories two days later was entirely something else for Sofia Kenin and Katerina Siniakova.

The women responsible for beating Williams and Osaka in the third round bowed out in the fourth round Monday, with Kenin losing to No. 8 seed Ashleigh Barty, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, and Siniakova defeated by No. 14 Madison Keys, 6-2, 6-4.

It’s a common occurrence at Grand Slam tournaments: An unseeded player knocks off a far more accomplished opponent but fails to do enough to win again the next time on court. Just one other example from this year at Roland Garros: The woman who beat the three-time major champion Angelique Kerber in the first round, 81st-ranked Anastasia Potapova, exited in the second.

“It’s obviously challenging,” said Kenin, a 20-year-old American ranked 35th who outplayed Williams during a straight-set victory Saturday. “You know, you’ve got to get your emotions settled in.”

Keys meets Barty next. The other quarterfinal on the top half of the women’s draw will pair the defending champion Simona Halep, who routed 18-year-old Iga Swiatek, 6-1, 6-0, on Monday, against the 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, who beat the Spanish qualifier Aliona Bolsova, 6-3, 6-0.

Barty dominated the final set against Kenin, held an 11-1 edge in aces and played the sort of mistake-free tennis that Kenin managed to produce a match earlier.

After making half as many unforced errors as Williams, Kenin wound up with 29 against Barty, who had 17.

Barty, an Australian who interrupted her tennis career for nearly two years after the 2014 United States Open to play cricket, is really thriving now.

“It made me more hungry and more passionate to come back and play tennis,” Barty said of her sabbatical. “I feel like I’m in a very good place, very much enjoying myself.”

Barty made it as far as the fourth round only once in her first 17 Grand Slam appearances; she’s made it to the quarterfinals at each of the past two.

In Keys, she will face someone who is in the quarters for the fifth time in the last seven majors, including a runner-up finish at the 2017 U.S. Open and a semifinal showing in Paris a year ago.

Keys needed only 75 minutes to get past Siniakova, a Czech who is ranked No. 42 in singles and No. 1 in doubles.

After playing so confidently in her 6-4, 6-2 victory that ended Osaka’s 16-match Grand Slam winning streak, Siniakova allowed Keys to dictate things to the tune of a 26-10 advantage in winners.

“After you have a big win, you put a little bit more pressure on yourself,” Keys said. “So it’s definitely never an easy position to be in after having a big upset and then trying to mellow out and follow it up the next round.”

Siniakova said she “just wanted to play another match,” but beating Osaka meant expectations went “from low” to “big.”

“Everyone,” Siniakova said, “expects you now to beat everyone.”

In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic became the first man to reach the French Open quarterfinals 10 years in a row. Even Rafael Nadal never accomplished that.

Djokovic moved into the round of eight with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over 45th-ranked Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany, saving the only break point he faced and compiling 31 winners to only 12 unforced errors.

The top-seeded Djokovic is bidding for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title and his second trophy at Roland Garros, where he won the championship in 2016.

Djokovic hasn’t dropped a set through four matches this year. But he also has not faced a seeded player yet.

His quarterfinal opponent will be No. 5 Alexander Zverev, who defeated No. 9 Fabio Fognini, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (5).

In a fourth-round match that was suspended by darkness on Sunday, No. 7 Kei Nishikori overcame strong resistance from the local favorite Benoît Paire to win, 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-2, 6-7 (8), 7-5.

Nishikori will face the defending champion Rafael Nadal in the last eight on Tuesday.

Paire saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker to level at two sets apiece and led 5-3 in the decider but was ultimately undone by his own mistakes. He finished with 79 unforced errors.

Nishikori broke back with a backhand winner and made the decisive break in the 11th game, sealing the match on his next service game when Paire sent a forehand return into the net.



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