Kenin silences roaring French crowd to book QF berth

Sofia Kenin overcame Fiona Ferro and a partisan French crowd to reach her first quarterfinals at Roland Garros

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Sofia Kenin must have felt pretty lonely out on court, as she faced home hope Fiona Ferro and close to a 1000 French fans, whose roars echoed in the relatively empty Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Not surprisingly, the Australian Open champion was in tears after an emotional 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Ferro in the French Open fourth round on Monday.

“Yes, there was a lot of emotions. I was just super happy that I won,” said the No 4 seed.

“Like, the crowd wasn’t the best, which is understandable, but still, I wish it would have been a little bit different.”

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“I tried to use that as motivation,” the American admitted.The French crowd cheered on loudly for every point that Ferro won, but Kenin eventually silenced them.

“Obviously I was not really too happy with how it was going. I knew it’s expected. I understand why. I’m playing a French player, and she’s had a great run here. Of course, they obviously wanted her to win.

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“I just try to tell myself one point at a time, eventually it’s going to change if I just keep playing. Yeah, I definitely used the crowd as motivation because I really wanted to win. First of all, I did it for myself. I guess it’s always nice to get the win obviously.”

This was Kenin’s third three-set victory in her four matches at Roland Garros. Since the tour resumed from the five-month hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic in August, the American has struggled for form.

She was bundled out in the opening round of the Cincinnati Masters and, seeded second at the US Open, she went down to Elise Mertens in the Round of 16.

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But Kenin scripted an unlikely comeback on what is far from her favourite surface. After losing the opening set, the American took a bathroom break and came back a different player. She overcame Ferro’s athleticism with clever court craft to take the next two sets.

“I’m like super happy that I’m in the quarters,” she said. “I usually don’t play really good on clay. In the past in juniors, I really hated the clay. Last year I started to like it for the first time. I’m just super proud of myself. I feel like I’m playing really well.”

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Kenin will take on fellow-American Danielle Collins for a place in the semi-finals.

Collins sends history-making Jabeur packing

World No.57 Collins edged out No 30 seed Ons Jabeur 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory in a match that could not be played on Monday due to rain.

In the opening set, Collins was more aggressive and was eventually rewarded with a break of serve.

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But Tunisia’s Jabeur, the first Arab woman to reach the French Open Round of 16, clawed back from 0-3 in the second set, winning six of the next seven games.

The American, though, held her nerve in the decider, which saw seven breaks of serve, to book a place in the Roland Garros last eight for the first time in her career.

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“She’s tricky. She served really well,” the 26-year-old Collins said. “She hit dropshots on shots I wasn’t really expecting and I just tried to dig it out. It broke my rhythm, I lost my way a little bit, lost some of the shots I was hitting earlier. I just needed to stay positive.”

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