Open: Sofia Kenin moves past qualifier Irina Bara to make second week again 
Fourth seed Sofia Kenin of the United States moved past a second Romanian opponent in succession to sail into the second week of the French Open once more. Photo: Tim Clayton

Third round action at the French Open this year saw the reigning Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin taking to Court Philippe Chatrier Saturday where she went up against her second Romanian opposition in a row, this time in the form of the qualifier Irina Bara, in what was the second match of the day on the tournament’s main court.  

Bara, who broke through to her maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance in Paris this year, after 11 previous failed attempts in qualifying dating back to the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, was looking to upset the fourth seed and join fellow qualifiers Martina Trevisan and Nadia Podoroska in the second week.

It was not to be for the Romanian, however, despite an early lead in the match, as Kenin would go on a 12-game winning streak, to earn herself a virtual double bagel, her first straight-set win at this year’s tournament, and a second week berth in Paris once again in her career.

Bara takes early lead but Kenin zones in to take the first set

The match began with the qualifier serving, and she soon found herself down 0-30, but would come back to score the next four points and seal the opening game of the match. The next game saw Kenin broken after a couple of errors and an untimely double fault gave her opponent a break point, which was duly converted. That would be the last game her Romanian opponent gets in the match as she dropped just three points in the next two games, breaking back in the process as well to level the set at 2-2.

Bara grabbed the first two games of the match but the rest history as her opponent stormed through the next 12 to win the match. Photo: Shaun Botterill
Bara grabbed the first two games of the match but the rest history as her opponent stormed through the next 12 to win the match. Photo: Shaun Botterill

The following game saw the American hit two winners before an unforced error from Bara handed the former a break point. Bara would deny her opponent the break there, and went on to carve a game point but the ruthless Kenin would finish the game by converting second break point there to go up a break 3-2. The American would then go on to save a break point in the ensuing game to consolidate the break lead.

The Romanian qualifier looked set for a love hold in the next game, but Kenin would come roaring back as she stole the next five points in succession, even making three winners, to break the former’s serve and earn herself a chance to serve out the set. In what was a topsy-turvy final game of the set, Kenin would save three break points to finally close it out 6-2 in 38 minutes.

Kenin continues game-win streak to make second week

The second set would begin with Kenin coming up with break points on three separate occasions in the first game, converting her third with her sixth winner of the game to break Bara for the fourth consecutive time. A long eight-minute game on the American’ serve ensued as she had to save a break point and then come through the service hold after five game point opportunities.

That game proved to be a decisive one as Kenin raced through the next three games in over six minutes to carve out a 5-0 lead, surrendering just three points in the process. A game away from defeat, Bara would give the fourth seed her final test of the clash, going from two match points down to a break point, after her opponent landed a double fault.

The Romanian would earn herself a further four break point chances, doing so with a winner of her own in the last three of those. Kenin, however, would deny Bara that elusive break of serve in the game as she hurried away with the last points by hitting back-to-back winners to record a 6-2, 6-0 victory after 72 minutes of play.

Kenin is now a win away from another Grand Slam quarterfinal in 2020. Photo: Tim Clayton
Kenin is now a win away from another Grand Slam quarterfinal in 2020. Photo: Tim Clayton

Both players finished the match with equal first serve percentage of 74 but Bara was undone by her points won on serve, winning just 43% of points on her first delivery, and 15% on her second in contrast to Kenin’s 63% and 39%, respectively. The fourth seed also hit a total of 34 winners to 25 unforced errors, nearly tripling her opponent’s winner count of 12, despite the latter keeping her unforced error count low at 13.

Up next

Kenin, who has now made the second week at all Grand Slams in a year for the first time in her career, next faces an in-form Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro, who is in her maiden second week appearance at the Grand Slams.

Ferro, who is also on an eight-match winning streak, and one of two local hopes left standing in the tournament, and will be bidding to lengthen her streak and upset the American for her first Grand Slam quarterfinal berth, on home soil.