Kenin notches opening Hobart WTA win

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HOBART, Australia — Former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin has made a bright start at the Hobart International, beating higher-ranked Lin Zhu in straight sets.

Kenin, who sits at world No.143 three years after her Melbourne Park triumph, was too strong in a 6-2 6-2 first-round win over her 85-ranked opponent on Tuesday.

It sets up a likely clash with world No.27 and second seed Elise Mertens, who meets qualifier Maryna Zanevska on Tuesday night.

“I feel like I played well out there. It was tough conditions,” Kenin, who won the Hobart title in 2019, said.

“I’m happy with the way I’m playing, so I’m just going to try and keep it going.”

The 24-year-old American, who has battled injury and poor form since her 2020 Australian Open title, made the second round in Auckland last week, losing to eventual winner Coco Gauff.

Hobart lost its second higher profile player in the space of two days on Tuesday, with third seed and former winner Alize Cornet going down 6-4 6-2 to Italian 21-year-old Elisabetta Cocciaretto.

Cocciaretto will next meet countrywoman Jasmine Paolini for a place in the quarter-finals.

It comes after fourth seed Sloane Stephens was eliminated in the first round on Monday.

In other first-round results, sixth seed Bernarda Pera beat fellow American Madison Brengle in straight sets and eighth seed Yulia Putintseva toppled Claire Liu 6-2 6-4.

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