Saturday, June 1, 2019

Young U.S. women advance; Serena, Osaka fall

Sofia Kenin, shown en route to the title in the Berkeley Challenger
last July, shocked Serena Williams 6-2, 7-5 today in the third round
 of the French Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sofia Kenin and Amanda Anisimova combined to win four Challenger singles titles in Northern California in three years.
   Both young Americans today reached the fourth round of the French Open, but top-ranked Naomi Osaka's Grand Slam title streak ended at two.
   The unseeded Kenin, 20, beat a rusty Serena Williams, seeded 10th, 6-2, 7-5 in Paris to reach the fourth round of a major for the first time. Kenin sobbed afterward.
   "I think this is such a great win for me," said Kenin, who won NorCal Challenger singles titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. "I don't normally cry after a match. I had so many emotions playing on Chatrier. I have always imagined playing there and winning a match. I went there today with the mentality to go and win."
   Williams, who had played only one match since March because of a knee injury entering the French Open, pounded 10 aces to none for Kenin but committed 34 unforced errors to Kenin's 17.
   "I'm just pretty far away (from optimal conditioning)," Williams said, "but the optimistic part is I haven't been able to be on the court as much as I would have. That's OK. At least I can start trying to put the time in now."
   Williams, 37, has not won a tournament since giving birth to her first child on Sept. 1, 2017. The three-time French Open champion (2002, 2013 and 2015) needs one more Grand Slam singles crown to tie Margaret Court's record of 24.
Amanda Anisimova, winning her first professional title in
the 2017 Sacramento Challenger, overcame a viral illness
to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for
the second consecutive time. Photo by Rob Vomund
   The unseeded Anisimova, 17, topped Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 7-6 (6), 6-4 to gain the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the second consecutive time. Before this year, she had not won a main-draw match in a major.
   Anisimova withdrew from her doubles match on Friday because of a viral illness.
   "Today, I didn't feel well at all," admitted Anisimova, who won her first professional title in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger. "It was just super tough the whole match, and even my warmup. It was just a really big struggle getting through the match today, and I'm just really proud I could take this win today."
   Osaka lost to unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova, the top-ranked doubles player in the world, 6-4, 6-2. Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova, the defending doubles champions, fell in the first round to Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine and Abigail Spears of Colorado Springs, Colo.
   Siniakova and Paula Kania of Poland advanced to the doubles final in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Osaka has failed to reach the fourth round of the French Open in four career attempts.
   Anisimova, if healthy, has a much better chance of reaching her first Grand Slam singles quarterfinal than Kenin or Siniakova. Anisimova, ranked No. 51, is scheduled to play qualifier Aliona Bolsova, a Moldova native who plays for Spain and is ranked No. 137, on Monday.
   Kenin will take on eighth-seeded Ashleigh Barty, who reached her first major quarterfinal in the Australian Open in her home country in January and won the biggest title of her career in the Miami Open in March. Barty is 2-0 against Kenin, including a 6-3, 6-2 victory in the first round at Charleston on clay last year.
   Siniakova will face 14th-seeded Madison Keys, who won the final edition of the Bank of the West Classic in 2017.
   In the third round of men's doubles, 10th-seeded Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania beat seventh-seeded Bob Bryan of Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and Mike Bryan of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 6-3, 7-6 (7).
   The 41-year-old Bryan twins (Stanford, 1997-98) were seeking their third French Open title. Bob Bryan underwent hip replacement surgery last Aug. 2 and returned to competition in January.

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