Kenin finally found some consistency last year by being able to play the most matches she's played in years. The American won 30 matches, including a pretty good run at the Guadalajara Open, which allowed her to return to the Top 50 on the WTA Tour.
The hope was to build on that this year, but it hasn't looked that great so far. The American began the 2024 season in Brisbane and lost early to Arina Rodionova. She was in action next week in Hobart but once again didn't show much.
However, she did earn her first win of the year over Greet Minnen 6-3, 6-3. The Australian Open was a tough draw against Iga Swiatek, which she lost, and things didn't get any better after that.
Due to the brutal entry list, Kenin had to start in the qualifiers in Abu Dhabi, and she faced a tricky opponent in Heather Watson. The British player is far from her best, but she can beat anybody in the right circumstances.
And that's exactly what happened. She lost the opening set but then played two really good ones to defeat the Americans in three. It's a pretty devasting loss for Kenin because she needs wins, and more importantly, this is a matchup she has to win.
She did start well, winning the opening set 6-3, but that was mostly due to Watson serving pretty badly. Both players struggled on their second serve, but Watson had to play more of those rallies, causing her to lose the set.
She flipped it in the next set, serving really well, and it made all the difference, as she won it 6-1. That momentum carried over in the final set as Kenin completely lost confidence from the baseline, piling up the errors quickly.
It was a pretty odd match for Kenin, who looked good but then fell apart in an incredible way to lose in the first round of the qualifying, 6-3, 1-6, 1-6.