The 20-year-old Sofia Kenin is having a breakthrough season so far in 2019, winning two WTA titles and delivering some of the best wins of her career. After lifting the trophy in Mallorca, the Moscow native had lost three of the last five matches before shining again in Toronto, ousting world no.1 Ashleigh Barty 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 56 minutes for the place in the third round!
Kenin has become the youngest American player who defeated world no. 1 since Christina McHale in 2011 when she overpowered Caroline Wozniacki in Cincinnati, adding another impressive result to her already rock-solid tally in 2019.
This was the first match for Barty after an early loss at Wimbledon and she could lose the WTA throne to Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova in the rest of the week, losing the advantage in the pivotal moments to hit the exit door despite having a similar winners-unforced errors ratio as Kenin.
The American saved four out of eight break points and worked hard to eclipse those numbers on the return, creating 13 opportunities and converting six to find herself over the top and in the last 16 on her main draw debut here.
Despite the tie break, the opening set was fast and fluid and it lasted only 45 minutes, with Sofia who drew first blood in the third game with a break at love when Ashleigh netted an easy backhand. Both players served well after that and Roland Garros champion pulled the break back in the very last moment after forcing an error from Kenin in game ten, leveling the score at 5-5 and setting the tie break that she claimed 7-5 with a service winner to steal the opener.
The American left this part of the match behind her immediately, scoring a break in the second game of the second set and another one that pushed her 4-0 up after a return winner. Trailing 40-0 in game five, Ashleigh started to climb back, taking the next five points to pull one break back, rattling off 14 straight points, breaking at love at 2-4 following a massive forehand error from Kenin and looking good to seal the deal in straight sets.
Instead of that, Sofia found the new drive and broke again in game eight thanks to a forehand winner from the Aussie, forging another lead and holding at love with a forehand winner for a 6-3 and the deciding set. With the momentum on her side, Kenin broke in the third game of the final set after yet another loose forehand from Barty, repelling three break points in the next game to confirm the advantage and hitting a forehand down the line winner for a break at 15 in game five that pushed her closer to the finish line.
Ashleigh pulled one break back in the next game to extend her chances, saving three match points on serve at 3-5 before the American sealed the deal in the next game and stay on the title course.