Crying game takes Kenin into US Open second round

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New York (AFP)

Sofia Kenin advanced to the second round of the US Open on Tuesday -- and then revealed that crying to herself beforehand had helped set up her straight-set win over Yanina Wickmayer.

The 21-year-old Moscow-born second seed from the United States needed just over an hour to score a 6-2, 6-2 win over her unseeded Belgian opponent at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

It was an ultimately comfortable win for Kenin, who is targeting a second Grand Slam singles title following her emotional victory at the Australian Open in Melbourne earlier this year.

Kenin -- who had suffered a surprisingly early exit at last week's Western & Southern Open tune-up tournament -- revealed afterwards she had been "stressed" ahead of Tuesday's opener.

"I wasn't feeling well. I just tried to tell myself, big targets. Don't go for too much. First round, Grand Slam, it's new. A lot of emotions," Kenin said.

"I just felt a little more emotional, everything. Had to let it out, had to let off some steam before the match. I handled it really well."

Asked how she had alleviated her pre-match butterflies, Kenin replied: "Crying. That's what I did. I mean, I had to let it out."

"That's not the answer that people would like to hear," she added. "But everyone knows in Aussie I was crying every day before my match. It's fine. It worked.

"I was just really nervous. I had to let it out and just regroup and just tell myself, it's the first match. Just try to get a nice groove, feel the court. I just felt like I was playing really well.

"Obviously there is no more tears."

Kenin will play Canada's Leylah Fernandez in the second round. Fernandez opened her campaign with a 6-4, 7-5, win over Vera Zvonareva on Tuesday.

"With Leylah, I have practiced a few times, so I kind of know her game more or less," she said. "She is a young rising star, playing some really good tennis. It's going to be a good matchup, and hopefully I can do well."