"My dream officially came true. I can't even describe this feeling," Sofia Kenin excitedly said after winning her first career slam at the 2020 Australian Open. But little did she know what would face her in the coming months.
There would be tough competitors that she just couldn't defeat and then the world health crisis interrupting everyone's momentum at training and competition. The warm-up tournaments to the first slam of the season she bowed to Naomi Osaka in three straight sets in Brisbane's Round of 16.
Then it was from careless mistakes in strategy and a very aggressive Danielle Collins who took her down in two straight sets in Adelaide. But Kenin's momentum and mantra weren't completely shattered as she corrected her past errors, gained consistency and won her first title of the year over Garbine Muguruza taking the title after three tough sets.
Sofia Kenin has proven her status as being the No. 4 ranked woman player in the world and has defeated players that she had once shown staggering loss: It was Ashleigh Barty who defeated Kenin at last year's Wuhan and Roland Garros as well as two years ago at Charleston.
But the young American this year won her semifinal round over the determined Barty. She would overcome a Coco Gauff first set dominance at Australia and even won over Tunisia's Ons Jabeur in the Melbourne quarterfinal even though later was defeated by her in the U.S.
Open third round. She would soon go on the defeat Danielle Collins at Roland Garros quarterfinal along with the veteran Petra Kvitova in the semifinal round. Wins are hard to come by and Kenin has the ability to snap into action when facing defeat by games or a set.
She experienced that at her second won title of the year in Lyon, France in winning over Germany's Anna-Lena Friedsam. Kenin takes nothing for granted and even though won the first set, she faltered in the second with damaging unforced errors giving the set to Friedsam.
It was the newly formed Lyon Open that Sofia became defiant and won the title. "It's such a tough tournament, it could have gone either way," she said to Friedsam upon accepting her 5th title in her career. The young American would give kudos to the German saying "you've come back from injury and you're doing well and I wish you all the best..."
as Friedsam recovered from a shoulder injury. Sofia Kenin hasn't kept her victories in the singles level either and has won 2 doubles titles both captured in 2019: One with Eugenie Bouchard at the Auckland Open and the other with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in China.
Bethanie says of her partner "But Kenin's a feisty one. This girl's running down shots, is not afraid to be at the net, closing volleys out..."
Kenin will partner with Belinda Bencic starting with the Australian Open
It was only three months ago they teamed up at the Qatar Open to reach the quarterfinal but bowed to the top doubles team of Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova.
Kenin has played Bencic last year in singles at the Mallorca Open to win a title from her so teaming up may be to both of their advantages knowing each others' weak and strong points. Sofia Kenin may have the upper hand on many of her opponents at this upcoming season and vows that she'll continue to fight it out for her victories.
She's made it to 3 finals this season despite the Pandemic and professes of her slight disappointment at losing the French Open to the young Pole - Iga Swiatek. "She obviously played a real good match...," Kenin says of her opponent.
But the American's game was marred by a leg injury and Swiatek focused on it with aggressive playing to win the match and title. "I'm going to get my leg rested and start with the pre-season."