Sofia Kenin riding high as new season falls low on an extended break


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Sofia Kenin riding high as new season falls low on an extended break

"These past two weeks has been a lot of emotion...this is just such an honor. I'm so proud of myself, so proud of my Dad, my team, everyone's been around me. We've worked so hard...I'm like on cloud nine right now!" Sofia Kenin said smilingly after a few sips of champagne during the Australian Open press conference.

It was her determination to snap out of defeat that always leads her into victories. It happened at the U.S. Fed Cup winning in doubles giving the U.S. a 3-2 win over Latvia. Then it was the first grand slam event of the season -- The Australian Open.

Kenin might have lost the first set but came on strong with the second and third to win her first career slam over Garbine Muguruza. The Melbourne event wasn't the end of her victories for Sofia Kenin. She was optimistic and bursting with self-confidence when she entered the Dubai Duty Free Championships.

Kenin's first slam win was a mental and emotional boost but she wasn't feeling it in Dubai and bowed in the opening round to Elena Rybakina. It's the American's ability to bounce back even stronger that lead her to play the Qatar Open.

She would come up against the Ukraine's Daya Yastremska. At 19, she's won 3 WTA titles alredy and more than most her age, she's proved too much for Kenin. It was hurtful to go down in straight sets after winning the Australian Open, Kenin thought.

"I love the big state...It was such an exciting atmosphere, people were just cheering....It gives me more hype and motivation to keep moving forward." Kenin's move to the Dubai event wasn't successful as she bowed to Elena Rybakina in the opening round.

But counting the American out is a 'no-no' and she returned even stronger in France at the Lyon Open, a newly formed tournament in its first year. Sofia Kenin clawed her way up round by round winning all of them in hard fought 3-set battles.

She'd fight off Romania's Jaqueline Cristian, a player who served her 11 big aces but Kenin pulled out some tough strategies to in in three sets. Alison Van Uytvanck was determined to defeat her and each set was brought to a tiebreak, but the American prevailed with a 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 win.

"It was such a tough match, it's not often you see three set tiebreakers...She played a really tough match and it could have honestly gone either way," Kenin honestly sad. But she knew her secret way of winning with long rallies to set up for that perfect winning shot.

She comes on strong and did just that in the final with Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam. Kenin's game was crisp as she dictated the opening set leaving Friedsam shaken. She was determined to keep the pressure on the bewildered German but the second set Friedsam wasn't so gullible and bending to Kenin's strategies.

She'd let it all out there on the court Friedsam did winning 6-4 but Kenin had more mindset that her opponent and it showed throughout the deciding set. She'd win the match and title 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. It's with this win in combination with her Australian Open title that she rises to the No.

4 in the world. Kenin gets real after capturing the Lyon Open saying "..I know people haven't really paid attention much to me in the past. I had to establish myself, and I have." Despite the length of time and re-scheduling the tournament times it takes for the coronavirus to clear, Kenin knows that she is starting to make a name for herself as tough and deserving and she is enjoying it all the way to the top with the other ladies of the WTA.