The last time Sofia Kenin was a popular Miss was a few months ago when she won her 2nd career title at the Mallorca Open over Belinda Bencic in three turbulent sets. But her maiden title started off this season in January winning the Hobart International away from Anna Schmiedlova having not dropped a set the entire tournament.
She dismantled Caroline Garcia, Kristen Flipkens and Alize Cornet along the way, to stay consistent to capture her first title in her career. “I couldn’t ask for a better start…I’m really happy. I didn’t want to overthink it and I’m happy with the way I composed myself “Kenin smilingly said.
It was a few months later in June that she’d had that great feeling again and captured her second title at Mallorca against Bencic in a three-set slugfest. “I’m playing really well, fighting for every point and taking as much advantage as I can,” Kenin said with a big grin.
The last few tournaments Kenin wasn’t so lucky and bowed at the opening and second rounds but the Fed Cup player made sure to make an early mark on her presence at the Rogers Cup. She did exactly that in Toronto when she plays opposite Hsieh Su-Wei winning over her diabolical often unconventional strategies in straight sets.
The second round at Toronto, Kenin knew she would have to bring her ‘A plus’ game as she was put opposite of the No. 1 WTA player in the world, Ashleigh Barty. Staying true to form and delivering, Kenin had tried to win the opening set tiebreak but was unsuccessful.
“I’m just really tired, to be honest. Ashleigh’s such a tough player…” Kenin admitted. But her time was to come as the second set she’d reel off four straight games before Barty could even capture one.
Then the tides turned in the Australian’s favour and she played more consistent and gathered two more games by playing perfect tennis. She’d make her marks down the line and opening up the court, just puzzling the once confident Kenin.
It wouldn’t be a victory on Barty’s part yet as Kenin tightened her game and won the second set 6-3. She knew the decider would be tough and took the challenge. Barty started making simple mistakes and Kenin was there to pick up on the returns, having an answer for almost of the rallies the Australian could throw blasts her way.
“At times I was missing by big margins, which is something that I’m very not used to or comfortable with,” she said disgustingly. The volleys and winners in the open court looked easy as Kenin simply placed them for victory points.
Before long she was going over to the No. 1, Ashleigh Barty and shaking her hand as she basked in the glory of winning a round off of the top player in the world. “It just wasn’t there today,” Barty said realistic.
The ranking level for Kenin surely will be elevating but Barty admits “I couldn’t tell from you a bar of soap what’s going on with the rankings.” She is No. 1 but when #2 ranked Naomi Osaka plays Germany’s Tatjana Maria and if she wins, next week she will be number one again.
Surely, Osaka probably doesn’t care or need that number which proved so stressful to her before. Will this be how it goes for Kenin with her opponents at the Rogers Cup? Time will tell but Sofia Kenin’s confidence is showing anyway and it just might product more wins and going deep could be on the boards for the 20-year-old again.