MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Sofia Kenin was the Australian Open champion in 2020, and made it to the final of the French Open, too, that year, when she climbed to a career-high ranking of No. 4.
She's going to drop a lot closer to No. 100 after a first-round exit at Melbourne Park on Monday. The 11th-seeded Kenin was beaten by 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys 7-6 (2), 7-5 in an all-American matchup.
"It's not easy, but it's just a number. It doesn't change who I am. I'm still that person who everyone respects very much," Kenin said of her WTA ranking status. "Obviously, it's not the best news. ... But I don't have a doubt I can get back there."
Keys, also a former Top 10 player who reached the Australian Open semifinals in 2015, used 16 aces to extend her recent run of success: She is coming off a hard-court title at Adelaide on Saturday.
"Just some unforced errors and some forced errors -- because Maddy forced them. I was right there. It's disappointing," Kenin said. "It's a little bit of a bummer."