Defending champ Kenin: Leg will be OK for Australian Open

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Defending champion Sofia Kenin planned to go out for practice again before the Australian Open and keep treating a leg injury she said was hampering her during a loss to Garbine Murguruza in a tuneup event.

Kenin beat Muguruza in the Australian Open final last year to win her first major title. She also reached the final of the French Open in a season heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muguruza won the rematch 6-2, 6-2 on Friday, and Kenin walked off the court in tears.

On Saturday, Kenin said she’d been bothered by pain in her upper left leg and felt frustrated. She didn’t expect it to be a problem, though, when the Australian Open starts Monday.

“I was quite down. I wasn’t too happy with myself,” she said. “Obviously my leg wasn’t 100% as well. It was a little bit sore. That’s not an excuse at all.”

Kenin said she treated her leg for an hour before the match and also later, and now it was feeling better with time.

“It’s better, which I don’t understand. From a match, now today it’s better – thank God,” she said.

There’s been a series of injuries late this week, with star players withdrawing from matches later in some of the six tournaments crammed into the schedule this week to give players some matches after spending 14 days in quarantine.

“Everyone is using this tournament to prepare for Australian Open,” she said. “But everyone’s obviously going to be ready for Australian Open, for sure.”

Kenin will open against Australian wild-card entry Maddison Inglis either on Monday or Tuesday.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.

Kasatkina knocks out Raducanu at Agel Open

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — Fifth-seeded Daria Kasatkina defeated 2021 U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu 7-5, 6-4 to advance to the second round of the Agel Open.

Kasatkina was playing her first match since losing in the first round of the U.S. Open and will next face Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Sixth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland rallied to eliminate former top-five player Eugenie Bouchard of Canada 6-7 (7), 6-1, while Aliaksandra Sasnovich upset eighth-seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-2.

American qualifiers Alycia Parks and Catherine McNally both advanced. Parks upset Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 7-6 (3) and McNally eased past Anna Blinkova 6-1, 6-2 at the indoor hardcourt event in the Czech eastern city of Ostrava.