Kenin vs Jabeur US Open tennis live streaming, preview and predictions

hannahwilks in US Open 05 Sep 2020
Sofia Kenin has lost in the third round of the US Open for the past three years (PA Images)

Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur clash in a rematch of their Australian Open quarterfinal at the US Open on Saturday.

Kenin vs Jabeur is live from New York on Saturday 5 September, 6pm local/11pm BST

Sofia Kenin defeated Ons Jabeur on her way to her maiden Grand Slam title in January, and despite flying under the radar in the build-up to the US Open, the second seed is beginning to look very good and is yet to lose serve in New York.

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Tunisia’s trailblazer Jabeur is playing the best tennis of her career right now – but she’s never been able to find a way past Kenin on hard courts. Can she avoid dropping to 1-5 vs the counterpunching American on Saturday?

Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.

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Kenin vs Jabeur: Head-to-head

Kenin leads the head-to-head with Jabeur 4-1, and has won both their previous meetings on hard courts in straight sets, including a 6-4, 6-4 victory in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.

Kenin vs Jabeur: Preview

Despite the fact that she’s seeded second at this year’s US Open, Sofia Kenin has been little discussed in the run-up to the tournament – perhaps because she is in the same half of the draw as better-established Grand Slam champions like Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka, who she could face in the quarterfinals; and perhaps because the unusual events of 2020 meant that Kenin’s surprise win at the Australian Open received less attention that it usually might have.

Kenin did lose three of her next four matches after winning in Melbourne, but rebounded by winning her second WTA Tour title of the year in Lyon; she lost her only match coming into the US Open to Alize Cornet in straight sets, but she’s yet to lose a set or even have her serve broken in New York after wins over former semifinalist Yanina Wickmayer and rising Canadian Leylah Annie Fernandez. I thought that Fernandez, a talented young lefty, might cause Kenin problems but actually the 21-year-old handled the Canadian with ease, winning 6-4, 6-3 to reach the third round.

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Kenin’s next task is to snap her three-match losing streak in US Open third rounds, and she’s up against an in-form but extremely familiar opponent in the form of Ons Jabeur, who she has played five times before – most recently beating Jabeur in the quarterfinals in Melbourne in January.

Ons Jabeur was a quarterfinalist in Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’ (PA Images)

That run to the last eight in Melbourne was a historic one for Jabeur, who became the first Arab player to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. The 26-year-old Tunisian is a familiar face on the WTA Tour but has truly found her feet in the past couple of years, starting with a run to the final of Moscow at the end of 2018. She is 22-7 so far in 2020, and came into the US Open as one of the most in-form players thanks to runs to the quarterfinals of Lexington and ‘Cincinnati’. And a win over perennial dark horse Kaia Kanepi, a six-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist, 7-6(8), 6-0 in the second round must always impress.

Is there a way for Jabeur to beat Kenin? It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that it’s simply a very bad match-up for the Tunisian. Kenin is, fundamentally, a defensive counterpuncher but she’s also very quick to look for opportunities to transition forward into the court; Jabeur is an attacking player, an improviser, who thrives on producing unexpected winners. Kenin’s fantastic anticipation and footspeed makes patient point construction, of the kind Jabeur does not excel at, or sheer power the only way to beat her.

Kenin vs Jabeur: Prediction

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