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Kenin was 4-13 before the French Open. Now she's into the 3rd round

Tim Clayton - Corbis / Corbis Sport / Getty

PARIS (AP) — Sofia Kenin arrived at the French Open with just a 4-13 record this season and now is into the third round at Roland Garros after eliminating 21st-seeded Caroline Garcia of France 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday.

Kenin is a 25-year-old based in Florida who won the Australian Open in 2020 and made it to the final in Paris later that year before losing to Iga Swiatek. Kenin's career was knocked off track by a series of health issues, she's now at No. 56 in the rankings after once being as high as No. 4, and she hadn't even participated in the French Open since 2021.

Kenin dealt at various times with a lingering foot injury, a bout with COVID-19 and a right ankle problem.

Her results at the sport's most important events have not been up to her standards: She bowed out in the first or second round at six of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments. And Kenin hadn't played particularly well anywhere this year, with seven losses in opening matches.

Clay has been an ally, with five of her six match wins coming on the slow surface used at the French Open. It puts an extra emphasis on movement, one of Kenin's best skills.

"I feel like I'm playing some great tennis, so the hard work is paying off," Kenin said. "I'm very happy."

They played with the retractable roof closed over Court Philippe Chatrier because of heavy rain that interrupted play on all of outdoor arenas after about 40 minutes at the start of the day. That follows several hours of delays during showers Tuesday.

The only other stadium where the action could proceed was Court Suzanne Lenglen, which also has a retractable roof as of this year, and 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-4 victory over Daniel Altmaier.

The Chatrier stands were less than half-full for Kenin vs. Garcia, lessening any potential home-support advantage. It was often quiet enough in there that the splat of water drops hitting the top of the roof could be heard.

Kenin does not have a big serve — her fastest Wednesday was 100 mph (162 kph), while Garcia reached 114 mph (184 kph) — but put 81% of first serves in and saved 3 of 4 break points she faced.

Kenin ended up with nearly twice as many winners, 26, as unforced errors, 14. She will face either 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko or Clara Tauson for a berth in the third round.

Swiatek, the current No. 1, was scheduled to face Naomi Osaka, a former No. 1, later Wednesday in Chatrier.

Both are four-time major champions; Swiatek has won three of her trophies at Roland Garros, including the past two in a row.

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