Kenin, Sandgren advance to
Australian Open quarters
Arthur Kapetanakis | January 26, 2020
On Australia Day in Melbourne, Sofia Kenin and Tennys Sandgren advanced to the quarterfinals, while Alison Riske fell just short in a three-set battle against world No. 1 and home favorite Ashleigh Barty. For Kenin, it is a first career Grand Slam quarterfinal. Sandgren is back in familiar territory, having matched his 2018 Australian Open quarterfinal run to reach the last eight at a Slam for the second time.
In a showcase for the next generation of U.S. women's tennis, Kenin took on Coco Gauff in an all-American encounter in Melbourne Arena. After two closely contested sets, the 21-year-old pulled away late in a 6-7, 6-3, 6-0 victory.
Both young women took turns as the aggressor, with a combined 67 winners struck throughout the match. Kenin hit first with a break in the opening game of the match, but Gauff was able to find her way back into the first set before taking the tiebreak, 7-5. ADVERTISEMENT After Kenin took command with an early break in set two, she was able to make it count.
Playing in her 12th Grand Slam (to Gauff's third), Kenin's experience told as the match wore on. By the end, she broke serve five times, aided by 28 winners. Gauff notched 39 winners of her own, but could not overcome her 48 errors on the day.
"It meant a lot to me," Kenin said in press after the match. "I was really happy with the way I was able to handle my emotions and just fight through every point."
Yet to face a seeded opponent on her way to the last eight, she will meet Ons Jabeur of Tunisia in the quarterfinals.
Soon after the American competitors walked off Melbourne Arena, Tennys Sandgren walked on for his meeting with No. 12 seed Fabio Fognini. In an eventful match in which both players received medical timeouts—Sandgren for a leg issue and Fognini for blisters on his hand—the American prevailed, 7-6, 7-5, 6-7, 6-4.
Sandgren was clutch in the critical moments, winning all five of his break-point opportunities and firing 21 aces in a dominant serving display. After his loss, Fognini said he has no regrets because the American played "unbelievable."
"I thought the difference was really small moments," said Sandgren, who sealed the match with four straight points on the return to break from 40-15. "Maybe I played just a little bit better on a handful of moments, and that was the match."
The American improves to 5-2 against Top-20 opponents at Grand Slams. He will need more magic in the next round, when he takes on Roger Federer for a spot in his first career major semifinal.
Finally, in the Rod Laver Arena evening session, Riske put a scare into Barty and a festive crowd before bowing out, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.
Other victorious Americans on Day 7 in Melbourne included the Bryan brothers, who advanced to Round 3 in their final Australian Open, and five American juniors in singles play: Robin Montgomery, Martin Damm, Alexander Bernard, Aidan Mayo and Elizabeth Coleman.
The Bryans are back in action on Day 8, when Gauff will also return to the court alongside doubles partner Caty McNally. Two more all-American doubles duos—Kenin and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, and Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide—also have an opportunity to advance to the doubles quarterfinals.