French Open: Sofia Kenin survives test against Liudmila Samsonova
Photo: Cedric Lecocq

Fourth seed Sofia Kenin overcame the elements and some good play by Liudmila Samsonova to post a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory in the first round of the French Open.

The American broke twice in the first set to go in front before play was suspended due to rain. Following the delay, Samsonova jumped out to a 5-1 lead and survived a mini-comeback by Kenin to level the match.

The Russian went ahead 2-0 in the third set only to watch the fourth seed finish with a flourish, taking six of the last seven games to advance to the second round.

Kenin fights past Samsonova, rain to move on

Kenin got an immediate break, stinging a backhand winner to take the lead and dug out of a 0-30 hole to consolidate her advantage for a 2-0 edge. A forehand error brought up break point for Samsonova and the Russian converted with a backhand winner to level the set at 2-2.

At 4-4, Kenin had another chance to break and duly took it when the Russian missed a backhand wide. Serving for the set, she battled through a tough game and took the lead when Samsonova sent a forehand long.

Kenin struggled past the tricky Russian/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Kenin struggled past the tricky Russian/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Following an almost two-hour rain delay, Samsonova came out the quicker of the two players, holding and then breaking the Kenin serve when the American double-faulted on break point to hand the Russian a 2-0 lead.

A marathon fifth game saw Samsonova come through to hold after Kenin sliced a backhand into the net as the Russian jumped out to a 4-1 lead. She broke to love, blasting a crosscourt backhand for a winner to claim a 5-1 advantage.

Kenin hit back, breaking and holding to put the pressure back on the Russian. With a second chance to close out the set, Samsonova fired a forehand winner to set up double set point and another shot from that wing forced a weak reply from Kenin to level the match at one set all.

Samsonova came out of the rain delay and evened the match/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Samsonova came out of the rain delay and evened the match/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

She kept up her fine play to start the third set, breaking Kenin in the first game with a forehand winner before the American struck back, a backhand winner levelling the set at 2-2. Both players held until the eighth game when the fourth seed broke for a 5-3 lead.

Serving for the match, Kenin arrived at 40-30 and when Samsonova fired a final backhand wide, the Australian Open champion escaped with a hard-earned victory.

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