Things were looking bleak for the FILA sun-visored Sofia Kenin in her Mallorca final with Belinda Bencic. The Swiss was throwing out some damaging forehands and instinctive rallies that Kenin just couldn't handle. The lead was in Bencic's hands at 3-love but then Kenin wakes up and starts going on a rampage.
She started hitting the corners and places on the court getting winners that never happened before. Kenin continued to bring the set up to a tiebreak but unfortunately lost it by not coming up with the vital points to seal the games.
During the break, Kenin's father and coach Alexander, came out to give some pep talk strategies to his daughter. She seemed down a bit but encouraged as she shook her head in acknowledgement of tactics she had to do to win this next important set.
Then something happened. She began to rattle off forehand and backhand winners at a rapid speed at the corners and down the lines puzzling Bencic. There was a moment for the Swiss when she'd slip on the grass, but that was the American's time to start blasting.
Games were tied many times but Kenin and Bencic got into a second set tiebreak. Kenin started finding her spots and making Bencic pay as she won the second set tiebreak. "I just tried to fight out there...I love Mallorca..."
Kenin had said of her victory match over Elise Mertens in the quarterfinal. It was that same feisty play that came to a boil as the match continued with Bencic. Anyone who's been at the helm of Kenin's rallies and strategies knows that she's a true fighter from helping to win the last Fed Cup with Captain Kathy Rinaldi and her teammates to winning her first WTA title at Hobart International this past January.
She might have lost the opening set at this year's Indian Wells, but Wang Yafan felt her fury when she came back from down a set to win the match. Kenin can surprise and torment even the best of her opponents when she beat Serena Williams in the third round at this previous French Open.
"I feel like she, in that first set...hit pretty much inches from the line. I hadn't played anyone like that in a long time," Serena Williams had said of Kenin's talent. She might take time to go into a different zone after losing points and games, but when she gets there it's no holding her back.
She couldn't believe her victory over Serena and said that "Serena is such a tough player. I'm still trying to process what just happened." After Kenin broke Bencic bringing the score to 5-4 in her lead, she was off the rails penalizing every poor shot selection Bencic had.
She sucked on some liquid energizer aid during the last break and got up to finish off the match. Sofia Kenin made it to the semifinals last year but went full circle this time, earning a hard-fought Mallorca title. What does Kenin have to look forward to at Wimbledon? Most likely if she continues on a roll, strawberries and cream might not be her only dessert.