Credit One Bank Invitational Day 1: Kenin’s hot streak continues at WTA return

The Credit One Bank Invitational brought some of the WTA’s best to the green-clay courts of Charleston, South Carolina. Here’s a recap and breakdown of Day 1.

In an empty stadium with ball tubes and players calling their own lines, it was a weird sight for the WTA’s largest event post-lockdown. Nevertheless, 16 of the US’ best gathered in Charleston at the home of the Volvo Car Open and competed in the Credit One Bank Invitational team event.

The matches are a best-of-three format with a 10-point tiebreak in the third set if needed.

Match #1: Sofia Kenin (Team Peace) def. Allison Riske (Team Kindness) 6-1, 6-1

The day started out with a bang as the WTA’s last major champion, Sofia Kenin, took care of her fellow countrywoman with no problems. Kenin’s game was solid all around and her flurry of returns proved to much for Riske’s struggles on clay (her least preferred surface). The World #4 raced out to 5-0 before Riske took a game and won 8 of the first 9 games before being broken for the first time in the match at 2-0. There was a slight chance for Riske to make a charge but was shut out for the remainder of the set and the match.

Kenin’s play has been extremely solid this year. The two-time 2020 title winner and current Australian Open champion didn’t miss a beat following the months in lockdown. She’ll look to continue her hot streak into the remainder of the tournament.

Leylah Fernandez (Team Kindness) def. Emma Navarro (Team Peace) 6-4, 6-0

The second match of the day was a battle of the youngsters, as 17-year-old Canadian, Leylah Fernandez took on Charleston-born Emma Navarro (18 years old). The two faced off in the girl’s singles final last year at Roland Garros. Fernandez prevailed in that match and has done well on the pro circuit in her limited time.

The first set was just as tight as their Roland Garros bout. Fernandez led 3-2 before holding serve for 4-2 in a game that lasted over 10 minutes. She took the set 6-4 and didn’t look back, opening up the court to perfection and winning the 2nd set 6-0.

Match #3: Danielle Collins (Team Peace) leads Amanda Anisimova (Team Kindness) 4-1

Collins raced out to a 4-1 lead before rain delayed the rest of the night in Charleston.

Day 2 lookahead

Day 2 will begin by finishing up Day 1’s rained out matches. Collins got off to a hot start and should comfortably take the win, giving Team Peace a 2-1 lead. The final singles match will follow, with Team Peace’s Ajla Tomljanovic set to take on Team Kindness’ Shelby Rogers.

Day 2’s regularly scheduled matches will have 3 singles matches and the first doubles match of the event. Team Peace captain, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, will likely be taking the court for the first time, although her doubles partner is unknown.

The event is scheduled as followed:

June 23rd: 4 singles matches (Worth 1 point each)

June 24th: 3 singles matches, 1 doubles match (1 point each)

June 25th: 3 singles matches, 1 doubles match (2 points each)

June 26th: 3 singles matches, 1 doubles match (2 points each)

June 27th: 3 singles matches, 1 doubles match (3 points each)

June 28th (Super Sunday): 4 doubles matches, all 16 players competing (3 points each)

Whichever team finishes the event with the most points is deemed the winners. 60% of the prize money will go to the winning team and 40% to the losers.

Full Team Rosters

Team Peace

(C) Bethanie Mattek-Sands

Sofia Kenin

Danielle Collins

Jennifer Brady

Ajla Tomljanovic

Eugenie Bouchard

Emma Navarro

Caroline Dolehide

Team Kindness

(C) Madison Keys

Sloane Stephens

Victoria Azarenka

Amanda Anisimova

Monica Puig

Allison Riske

Leylah Fernandez

Shelby Rogers

More breakdowns and analyses will come every day as the event wears on.