2021 French Open: Sofia Kenin battles past Jelena Ostapenko
Photo: Michel Euler/Associated Press

In what was the highlight match of the first round of the French Open, fourth seed Sofia Kenin defeated 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Kenin broke Ostapenko nine times and overcame six double faults as she watched the Latvian commit 48 unforced errors. Ostapenko drops to 2-4 in Paris since her win in 2017. 

Kenin fights past Ostapenko in blockbuster clash

In this highly-anticipated showdown, Ostapenko got the early jump on the match, taking a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for her, the errors crept into her game as Kenin broke back and the American would go on to save a break point to level at 4-4.

A double fault by the Latvian set up break point and a weak second serve gave Kenin the opportunity to attack and she made no mistake, breaking for a 5-4 lead. She served out the set with little difficulty and had the lead despite largely being outplayed.

As in the first set, the 2017 champion was on top early, converting her third break chance of the game courtesy of a Kenin double fault and she held a 3-1 advantage. Back-to-back forehands put the fourth seed back on serve at 4-3, but consecutive backhand errors eventually gave Ostapenko the set to level the match.

Ostapenko gets ready to hit a forehand during her first-round match/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Ostapenko gets ready to hit a forehand during her first-round match/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

The third set saw a reversal of the first two sets as it was Kenin racing out to the early lead thanks to an immediate break. After holding she grabbed a second break behind a glorious backhand winner to make the score 3-0.

Kenin plays a backhand during her first-round victory/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Kenin plays a backhand during her first-round victory/Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Seven consecutive breaks of serve followed and with Kenin holding a 5-3 advantage, she capped the hard-fought contest with a break to love, securing her seventh win in the last eight matches in Paris.

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