Sofia Kenin can make her first US Open quarterfinal if the Australian Open champion can maintain her unbeaten record against…
Sofia Kenin can make her first US Open quarterfinal if the Australian Open champion can maintain her unbeaten record against Elise Mertens.
Kenin vs Mertens is live from New York on Monday 7 September, 8.30pm local/1.30am BST
Neither second seed Sofia Kenin or ‘Cincinnati’ semifinalist Elise Mertens has dropped a set on their way to the fourth round of the US Open, but something has to give as the two face off for a place in the quarterfinals.
Kenin has won both her previous matches against Mertens – can she make the final eight at her home Grand Slam for the first time?
Read on for our preview, predictions and live streaming information.
How to watch Kenin vs Mertens live
US Open matches including Sofia Kenin vs Elise Mertens are streamed live alongside odds and in-play betting at bet365.
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Kenin vs Mertens: Head-to-head
Sofia Kenin leads the head-to-head with Elise Mertens 2-0. Both matches took place in 2019, on grass in Mallorca and on hard courts at the Wuhan Open: In both cases Mertens took the first set before Kenin came back to win in three.
Kenin vs Mertens: Preview
Second seed Sofia ‘Sonya’ Kenin is still somewhat under the radar at the US Open, due to being in the same half as Serena Williams and the resurgent Victoria Azarenka (her potential quarterfinal opponent). But those days are numbered as the American heads into the second week looking very strong indeed.
Neither Kenin nor Mertens has dropped a set so far at the US Open, and they’ve both had some tough players to contend with. Kenin dealt so well with the challenge of Leylah Annie Fernandez in the second round, and although she got her serve broken for the first time at this tournament by Ons Jabeur in the third round, the way Kenin won that Australian Open quarterfinal rematch was exemplary. The world no. 4 came back from 2-4 down in the first set, won it in a tie-break and weathered a barrage of ten aces and 34 winners from Jabeur in a match full of long, draining points.
Kenin’s serve looks like an odd shot because of the way the American looks down and away from the ball throughout it but it’s an underrated weapon, mainly because of the sheer consistency with which the American hits her spots. It’s a major part of what Mertens is up against as she tries to get her first win over the second seed.
A semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2018, Mertens hasn’t got that far since but she rarely loses early at a major, making the fourth round or better at five of the eight majors played since that Melbourne run (not including this one). A quarterfinalist at the US Open last year, where she lost to eventual champion Bianca Andreescu, Mertens tends to put herself in the position to capitalise on opportunities, and she’s been playing great tennis since the return to competition: Finishing runner-up to Simona Halep in Prague, Mertens made the semifinals in ‘Cincinnati’ and while she hasn’t played any seeds so far in New York, she’s still been up against some very tough players – Laura Siegemund and Caty McNally chief among them.
It’s not difficult for me to see why Mertens has lost her two previous matches with Kenin in three. Mertens plays smart, appealing tennis which works well on fast courts; she uses angles smartly to open up the court, then moves forward to finish off the point. Against Kenin, who is so fast and defensively gifted, Mertens has to go for more on her shots than she is comfortable doing in order to get the American out of position; it’s not something she can sustain for a whole match. With Kenin serving as well as she seems to be, I expect this US Open clash to follow the script.