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Australian Open: Giant-Killer Kanepi smothers defending champion Sofia Kenin as Barty seals third round

Defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin was eliminated in the second round on Thursday as the unseeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia beat her decisively, 6-3, 6-2.

The 22-year-old American was left devastated and in tears as her exit was the first major upset of the tournament. Kaia Kanepi, 35, long known as the giant killer was in thorough command from the start of the second-round match.

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Australian Open: Giant-Killer Kanepi smothers defending champion Sofia Kenin as Barty seals third round

 

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The Estonian, who has been in promising form smashed 10 aces and racked up 22 winners while Kenin managed just 10 to go with 22 unforced errors. Kenin never broke a serve and became the latest highly ranked player to fall to Kanepi after Caroline Wozniacki and Simona Halep.

Speaking after the defeat, Sofia Kenin said:

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I feel like everyone was always asking me, ‘Do you see yourself getting there and winning again?

Obviously, I said yes. But yeah, I mean, with the way I’m playing, no.

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Kanepi will face 28th seed Donna Vekic in the third round.

Meanwhile, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty defeated friend and fellow Aussie Daria Gavrilova after a match filled with nerves and a feeling of bewilderment. Barty after squandering a big lead in the second set and survived a shaky tiebreaker to beat Gavrilova 6-1, 7-6 (7). For a ticket to the round of 16, Barty who had her left thigh heavily strapped Thursday will play either Ekaterina Alexandrova or Barbora Krejcikova.

Australian Open: Giant-Killer Kanepi smothers defending champion Sofia Kenin as Barty seals third round

Also, former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova advanced to the third round at the Australian Open by beating American Danielle Collins, a semifinalist at Melbourne Park in 2019, 7-5, 6-2.

American Shelby Rogers advances to the third round at the Australian Open for the first time by beating qualifier Olga Danilovic 6-2, 6-3.

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Kayson Papa Nketsiah Jr

He aims to create something brilliant daily. Eager to learn more. He uses his free time to get better at what interests him, whether it's entertainment, gaming, or even something entirely new

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