US Open: Sofia Kenin downs Ons Jabeur to reach fourth round
Photo: Matthew Stockman

Second seed Sofia Kenin remained perfect at Grand Slam events this year with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over 27th seed Ons Jabeur in the third round of the US OpenThe American won her 10th consecutive match at majors this year following her Australian Open title and is into the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadows for the first time in her career.

Jabeur took the early lead after a break midway through the first set gave her a 4-2 advantage. Kenin broke right back and eventually won the set in a tiebreaker. The second set saw three early breaks in a row with the second seed coming out on top and claiming victory a few games later.

 

Kenin was looking for her fourth win in as many meetings against Jabeur and she had defeated the Tunisian on her way to her first major title in Melbourne. In the fourth game of the match, she saved two break points after Jabeur committed a pair of unforced errors, which allowed her to hold to level the set at 2-2.

Kenin hits a backhand during her third-round match at Flushing Meadows/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Kenin hits a backhand during her third-round match at Flushing Meadows/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A 12-point sixth game culminated with Kenin hitting a forehand into the net on break point after a smart slice from Jabeur to give the Tunisian a 4-2 lead. She would lose a 40-0 lead in the next game and eventually watch the American break back. The 27th seed would save two break points in a 14-point ninth game and another when she next served for a 6-5 advantage.

The set would eventually head to a tiebreaker where minibreaks were exchanged midway through. The decisive blow was struck when Jabeur dumped a backhand into the net after getting Kenin on the defensive, handing the American a 5-4 lead. Two points later, another error from that side gave the second seed a one-set advantage.

Three of the first four games in the second went to the returner with the last of those seeing Kenin strike a brilliant crosscourt forehand for a winner to set up break point and when Jabeur misfired on another backhand, the American grabbed a 3-1 advantage. A love hold extended the lead to 4-1.

Jabeur outplayed Kenin on the stat sheet, but didn't play the big points well/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Jabeur outplayed Kenin on the stat sheet, but didn't play the big points well/Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Another hold gave Kenin a 5-2 edge and put her a game from of victory. Jabeur saved a match point with some crafty play and eventually held to make the second seed serve out the match. With the game at 30-30, the Tunisian struck a forehand long, giving Kenin a second match point which she took with a scintillating backhand winner to close out a hard-fought victory.

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