Wednesday, March 3, 2021

No. 1 Sofia Kenin moves on at Abu Dhabi

No.1 seed Sofia Kenin advanced into the third round of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open on Friday after her opponent, Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, was forced to retire with an injury.

The unseeded Flipkens had won the first set 7-5, and was trailing in the second 5-4, when she injured her ankle as she collided with an advertising block at the back of the court while returning a shot.

After the match, the American’s thoughts were with Flipkens, the world’s 86th-ranked player.

“We’re good friends and that’s not something you like to see,” said Kenin, ranked No. 4 in the world. “I just hope (Flipkens) can have a speedy recovery and get ready for Australia.”

The Australian Open, the season’s first major, is set for Feb. 8-21.

All seeded players in action at Abu Dhabi on Friday won to advance to the round of 16.

No. 13 Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan defeated Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-4, 7-5. Both players had their opportunities in the one-hour, 58-minute match. Putintseva saved six of seven break points, while Krejcikova fended off 13 of 16 break points.

Putintseva will face Kenin in the next round on Sunday.

No. 4-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus eliminated Australian Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5, 6-4, and on Sunday will face No. 15 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia, who topped Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Other winners Friday were Spaniards Paula Badosa Gibert and Sara Sorribes Tormo, Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia, and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia.

–Field Level Media

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