Often, during the last part of the season, WTA 250 tournaments present players with a very good opportunity for a strong run, as the fields at these events tend to be weaker due to the WTA Finals spots being decided.
That's also the case for the 2023 Korea Open, where Jessica Pegula is the top seed, but other than that, it presented Kenin with a great opportunity to win some matches and improve her position in the WTA Rankings ahead of the 2024 season.
Yet, that didn't happen as the American struggled in the match against the world no. 162, Su Jeong Jang greatly. Player ranked outside of the Top 100, with three consecutive losses in the last three tournaments, certainly should have meant an easy win for Kenin, but the opposite was true.
The two met once before on the WTA Tour, and back then, in 2018, it was a surprising win for Jang in Newport. Back then, Kenin was the fifth seed at the tournament, and she was the fifth seed also this time around, but once again, it resulted in a loss for her.
The most shocking was probably the first set. Kenin just couldn't keep up, she did too many mistakes, and her opponent was able to outplay her comfortably 6-1 after breaking the American's serve twice.
Kenin put up a good fight in the second set, but after she was broken twice in the opening three games, and managed to re-break only once, there wasn't much she could do with the match's result.
The Korean player won 6-1, 6-4, and the home crowd was happy because she became the first home player at the tournament in Seoul in 2023 to advance to the second round.