Reigning Australian Open champion tearfully admits she ‘could not deal with the strain’ of attempting to defend her title after she was bundled out by an unseeded participant

  • World no.4 Sofia Kenin, 22, misplaced in straight units to unseeded Estonian Kaia Kanepi
  • Heartbroken US star sobbed in press convention, claiming strain obtained to her
  • The American is the highest-ranked participant to be knocked out of Australian Open
  • Kenin beat Ash Barty and Garbine Mugurzua to win the Australian Open final 12 months
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Reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin has fought again tears in her post-match convention after crashing out of the match.

The American world quantity 4 grew to become the highest-ranked participant to be knocked out of the grand slam following a crushing straight units loss to unseeded Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi, 35, at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

A distraught Kenin later admitted in her post-match convention she was ‘manner too nervous’ and cracked below the strain of being the defending title winner. 

‘I do know I could not actually deal with the strain,’ she stated as she wiped away tears.

‘I imply, clearly I have not skilled that. I clearly felt like I am not there 100% bodily, mentally, my sport. Every little thing simply feels actually off. It is not good.’ 

Sofia Kenin (pictured) was heartbroken after she crashed out of the Australian Open in a shock round two loss on Thursday

Sofia Kenin (pictured) was heartbroken after she crashed out of the Australian Open in a shock spherical two loss on Thursday

‘I do know I could not actually deal with the strain. I am not clearly used to this, so proper now I’ve simply obtained to determine find out how to play at that degree that I performed at.

‘As a result of like immediately and people matches, it simply hasn’t been there.’ 

Kenin backed up her maiden grand title with a runner-up end on the French Open final 12 months, which boosted her up the world rankings to world quantity 4.

‘I did put strain on myself there (Roland Garros), however not as a lot as right here,’ she stated.

‘I really feel like everybody was all the time asking me, ‘Do you see your self getting there and profitable once more?’

‘The Australia journey, I really feel like that was one thing that I had my eye on. I knew I used to be going to have strain.

‘I knew I used to be going to have feelings, nerves, the whole lot all collectively. I felt actually nervous. I have not felt my sport for I do not understand how lengthy.

‘It is clearly robust. The Aussie swing positively obtained me.’

Sofia Kenin has a dream Australian Open in 2020, where she won her maiden grand slam

Sofia Kenin has a dream Australian Open in 2020, the place she received her maiden grand slam

Kenin admitted she’s been battling a groin damage and stated the 14 day lodge quarantine upon arrival in Melbourne might have additionally had a toll. 

Kenin was simply the third Australian Open defending champion to not attain the third spherical since 1970, and the earliest to crash out since Jennifer Capriati in 2003. 

It was a stunning defeat given the 22-year-old upset Australian world primary Ash Barty within the semi-final and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza within the ultimate to win the Open final 12 months. 

‘I simply got here right here, I did not have actually any expectations,’ Kenin stated of final 12 months’s marketing campaign.

‘I clearly needed to do properly. I knew I used to be taking part in properly. I began having a great run and the whole lot. It is not like I used to be ranked 100 and swiftly, I received. I used to be … high 20 or one thing. I do not even keep in mind.

‘I simply did not put this a lot strain on myself as this 12 months. This 12 months I put plenty of strain [on myself]. I clearly felt like I used to be anticipated to do properly.’  

Estonia's Kaia Kanepi (pictured) makes a backhand return to Kenin during their second round match on Thursday. The unseeded player managed to take victory in straight sets

Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi (pictured) makes a backhand return to Kenin throughout their second spherical match on Thursday. The unseeded participant managed to take victory in straight units 

Kanepi got here out swinging with a powerful first set whereas Kenin’s potential rapidly worsened because the quick match progressed. 

The American made 22 unforced errors, ten winners and no aces whereas the Estonian managed 10 aces.  

Her second spherical defeat is the earliest elimination of a ladies’s defending champion within the Australian Open in 18 years.  

Kenin choked back tears as she faced the press in the post-match conference. 'I know I couldn't really handle the pressure,' she told reporters

Kenin choked again tears as she confronted the press within the post-match convention. ‘I do know I could not actually deal with the strain,’ she instructed reporters

In the meantime, Kanepi was unsurprisingly happy along with her efficiency. 

‘I served very well immediately… my sport plan was to play aggressive as I usually do,’ she instructed reporters. 

Kanepi will subsequent play towards Croatian world no.33 Donna Vekic within the third spherical on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, Kanepi was unsurprisingly pleased with her performance.

Kanepi will next play against Croatian world no.33 Donna Vekic (pictured) in the third round on Saturday

In the meantime, Kanepi (left) was unsurprisingly happy along with her efficiency. She’s going to subsequent play towards Croatian world no.33 Donna Vekic (proper) within the third spherical on Saturday

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