Kenin hits her stride and races into French Open fourth round

PARIS (Reuters) - Sofia Kenin’s French Open campaign gathered momentum as the American fourth seed stormed into the fourth round with a 6-2 6-0 demolition of Romanian qualifier Irina Bara on Saturday.

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The Australian Open champion lost the first two games before turning on the power and winning the remaining 12 to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros for the second time.

Bara took her chances early on and broke for 2-0 but her hopes of a major upset were shortlived as Kenin shook her early jitters to advance.

The straightforward win was a big improvement on Kenin’s first two outings, when she needed three sets to progress.

“It wasn’t as dramatic, which I’m quite happy about. I kind of was a little bit tired of those dramatic matches. I just wanted to just try to start off well and finish off really well,” Kenin told a news conference.

“But of course, towards the end I just started getting a little bit careless. I started like doing drop shots towards the end, like just for fun. I was like, why not? Let’s just do dropshots. But then she obviously picked up her game.

“It’s nice getting 12 games in a row, I have to admit.”

Kenin only had trouble finishing it off on her own serve, most of her drop shot attempts failing in embarrassing fashion.

After an underwhelming U.S. Open, where she was knocked out in the fourth round by Belgium’s Elise Mertens, the 21-year-old seems to have hit her stride.

“Obviously I was looking forward to the American swing and all the American tournaments. I felt like I was playing some of my best tennis, and just all of it shut down. Obviously it changed things, put a lot of things for me in perspective,” she said.

Kenin could face a Romanian player for the third round in a row if Patricia Maria Tig beats Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro later on Saturday.

Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnege