HomeSportsItalian crowd boos Sofia Kenin after explosive outburst during victory over Lucia...

Italian crowd boos Sofia Kenin after explosive outburst during victory over Lucia Bronzetti


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American tennis star Sofia Kenin was left fuming with match officials following a dispute about conditions during her first-round match against Lucia Bronzetti in the Italian Open.

The 25-year-old, who won the Australian Open in 2020, defeated local star Bronzetti in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 at Rome’s Foro Italico to qualify for the tournament’s second round, where she will face No. 8 seed Ons Jabeur.

It was Kenin’s first WTA victory since January, ending a worrying nine-match losing streak for the former world No. 4.

During the first set of Wednesday’s contest, Kenin was overheard yelling obscenities at the umpire after the match supervisor instructed for play to continue in the rain.

The Italian crowd showered the Russia-born star with boos following the outburst, with Kenin later seen yelling “F*** you” at the spectators.

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Elsewhere, Japan’s Naomi Osaka marked her return to the Rome Open for the first time since 2021 with a straight sets victory over Clara Burel in the first round.

Former world No. 1 Osaka came through against her 45th-ranked French opponent 7-6, 6-1.

It was the 26-year-old’s first win against a top-50 opponent on clay since beating Victoria Azarenka at the French Open in 2019.

Osaka, now ranked 173rd in the world after taking a break from the tour to have her first child, will face 19th seed Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine for a place in the third round.

Kostyuk, the runner-up on clay in Stuttgart last month, lost to Osaka in their only other previous meeting, in three sets at the 2020 US Open.

On Wednesday, the Japanese star sealed victory in 84 minutes, finishing with 27 winners, including eight aces, and broke serve four times.

“I thought the first set was really tough. I’m really glad I was able to close it in two,” Osaka said.

“Overall I think mentally I tried to stay as strong as I can, so I’m really happy about that.

“I was up 5-3, serving for the set and I lost (the game). But just being able to hang in there and eventually close it on my terms is something that I’m very proud of myself for.

“I obviously played a lot better in the second set. I’m hoping that when I play my match tomorrow, I want to learn from the mistakes I did today.”

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