Tennis world stunned by Aus Open champ's 'horrible' 24-year-first

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Sofia Kenin is seen looking visibly upset at the Australian Open.
It's been a trip to Australia to forget for Sofia Kenin in 2021. Pic: Getty

Sofia Kenin's nightmare Australian trip has hit a new low in a result that has sent shockwaves through the tennis world.

Unranked Australian teenager Olivia Gadecki completed Kenin's miserable summer with a stunning win over the fallen Australian Open champion at Melbourne Park.

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The 18-year-old wildcard from the Gold Coast sent the American packing from the Phillip Island Trophy WTA event with a 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 second-round victory on Sunday.

Incredibly, it was the first time in 24 years that an unranked teenager had defeated a top 10 player in a WTA event.

Kenin entered the WTA 250 event after her Australian Open title defence ended in tears last week, courtesy of a second round loss to Kaia Kanepi.

Any hopes Kenin may have had about regaining form or confidence were dealt a devastating blow as the 22-year-old suffered another crushing defeat.

Gadecki could scarcely believe what she'd achieved afterwards, describing the victory over the World No.4 as "crazy".

"After that first set I was still trying to find my feet, find my way in the match," Gadecki said.

"But then something kind of clicked at 3-2.

"I was like, 'you know what, I have nothing to lose here, I'm just going to go out here and have a good swing' and then yeah, it carried on to the third set.

"... all I know is that I'm not ranked, and I just beat No. 4 in the world, which is crazy."

The tennis world was left equally as gobsmacked by Kenin's latest shock defeat Down Under.

Carrying AUD $302,500 in prize money and precious rankings points, the Phillip Island Trophy offered early-round Open losers a chance to atone.

But for top-seeded Kenin - who was among three grand slam champions in the draw - it only provided more despair.

The 22-year-old had also lost in the quarter-finals of the Yarra Valley Classic, meaning the WTA's 2020 player of the year only won three matches in three events in Australia.

Aussie teen credits Barty training work

For Gadecki, it's clearly the biggest win of her career.

Her first victory in the professional ranks only came last month at Australian Open qualifying in Dubai.

That result earned her a wildcard for this week's tournament.

She vindicated her entry with a first-round win over fellow Australian Destanee Aiava on Saturday before turning the tournament upside down with Sunday's triumph.

Pictured here, Olivia Gadecki cheers during a tennis match.
Olivia Gadecki's win over Sofia Kenin was the biggest of the Aussie's fledgling career so far. Pic: Getty

Gadecki trained with world No.1 Ash Barty during pre-season and had her fellow Queenslander watching on from the stands.

"I've been very fortunate enough to have Ash training in Brisbane and she gave me the opportunity to do her preseason and also my preseason with her," Gadecki said.

"So I wouldn't have been able to do what I did today without all her help and her time and effort."

Gadecki's victory earned her a last-16 crack at either Swede Rebecca Peterson or Belgian Greet Minnen.

"This win means that I'm not far, and I can really do this," she said.

"I feel like I can really make this dream of mine a reality."

with AAP

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