Tennis-Kenin roars back to topple Pegula in all-American clash

·1-min read
French Open

PARIS (Reuters) -Fourth seed Sofia Kenin rallied from a set down to book a place in the French Open last-16 on Saturday, defeating fellow American Jessica Pegula 4-6 6-1 6-4 on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

While the women's draw has already lost seven of the top 10 seeds, Kenin showed off her powers of recovery as she racked up a whopping 48 winners and broke Pegula's serve seven times over the course of a near two hour contest.

"I'm proud of myself for just fighting out there and battling out," Kenin, 22, said in a courtside interview.

Kenin, who finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek last year, made a bright start to take a 3-0 lead before unforced errors crept into her game, allowing Pegula to find her rhythm and draw level at 4-4.

Pegula, whose only WTA title came in 2019, showed incredible court coverage as she broke her opponent for the third time for a 5-4 lead before serving out the opening set.

But Kenin roared back, dropping just one game in the second set and pushing Pegula around the court with pinpoint groundstrokes.

The two Americans traded early breaks to start the decider, where Kenin's second break point for a 2-1 lead allowed her to take control of the match.

The 2020 Australian Open champion maintained her composure to save a break point in the sixth game before serving out the final game, booking a spot in the second week of the tournament.

Kenin is bidding for her third career Grand Slam quarter-final and will meet either 14th seed Elise Mertens or 17th seed Maria Sakkari.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Christian Radnedge)