Fixture: (2) Sofia Kenin vs Lauren Davis
Date: 7 April 2021
Tournament: Volvo Car Open 2021
Round: Second round (Round of 32)
Venue: Charleston, United States
Category: WTA 500
Surface: Green clay
Match timing: Approx. 12 pm local time, 9.30 pm IST
Prize money: $823,000
Sofia Kenin vs Lauren Davis preview
Sofia Kenin was undoubtedly the best WTA player last year, during which she picked up the Australian Open title and finished as the runner-up at Roland Garros. But the American has failed to replicate that form in 2021 so far, to say the least.
After getting her season off to a solid start with back-to-back quarterfinals in Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, Kenin bowed out of the Australian Open in the second round to Kaia Kanepi. She subsequently lost her first-round encounter at the Phillip Island Trophy against Olivia Gadecki.
The 22-year-old returned to the tour in Miami, where she got through a tense first-round match against Andrea Petkovic before bowing out in the second round to Ons Jabeur. Kenin now takes on compatriot Lauren Davis in her first match on clay this year.
Davis has had a woeful time on court since the tour restarted last August. The American was on an eight-match losing streak that lasted nearly six months before she got her first tour-level win of the year in Guadalajara. Davis made it to the quarterfinals in the Mexican city, after starting in qualification.
The 27-year-old was in Miami last week, where she lost in the first round against Kaia Kanepi. But she has now picked up a confidence-boosting first-round win over Madison Brengle here in Charleston, to set up the match against Kenin.
Sofia Kenin vs Lauren Davis head-to-head
The second round encounter in Charleston is the third professional meeting between Sofia Kenin and Lauren Davis, and their head-to-head is currently tied at 1-1.
Each of the pair's previous meetings has come on American soil. While Kenin defeated her compatriot in their first meeting at US Open 2017, Davis got the better of the World No. 4 in their last meeting - at the 2019 Washington Open.
Sofia Kenin vs Lauren Davis prediction
Although a bit rusty, Sofia Kenin comes into the second-round encounter against Lauren Davis as the on-paper favorite given her superior record and ranking.
Kenin has had her share of injury concerns this year, and is still looking to get back to full match sharpness. However, her movement on the court is still one of the best on the tour, and she possesses a quick-strike style of play that translates well to every surface.
Davis on her part will look to take advantage of Kenin's rustiness in Charleston. The 27-year-old's power and movement make her a real threat on clay. She also uses her strong and reliable backhand as an efficient weapon to put pressure on her opponents from the baseline.
Kenin will have the mental advantage in this contest. But if she is unable to stay sharp and keep her error count low, Davis could make things tough for her.
Prediction: Sofia Kenin to win in three sets.