“I don’t usually play really well on clay. In the past, at Juniors, I really hated clay, “Sophia Kenin said last week about the surface that would make her feel” choked “.
Since 2017, when she became the top-200 player in the world until the start of the French Open, Canteen holds a 6–13 win-loss record in the WTA tournament, with 11 starts in the WTA clay in eight starts. Court tournament in last three years. It was then desperate for Kenin to find his feet on clay that he entered an ITF (notch below WTA level) clay court tournament in Alabama in April 2018, still finishing 87th in the world. There too, she crashed in the quarter-finals.
Who wouldn’t hate shit?
Perhaps clay was not just his thing. Maybe, the 21-year-old, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, was only aiming to excel on tough courts. Not necessary.
On Saturday, Kainin will compete for his first title against Roland Garros, and second major of the year, Polish teen Inga Swotch. This, after being double bagged (6–0, 6–0) by Victoria Azarenka in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome.
What has changed with the Kenin-Clay relationship? Kainin returns to the 2019 French Open, where she crashed out of 16 rounds. In the previous match, he defeated compatriot Serena Williams in straight sets. Although she lost the next match, a win against Williams made her realize that she could finally play on clay. She found some things she could wring – touches her solidity from the baseline, especially her backhand. He began to understand how to move forward, and to slide, better on the court. All of this was to show her 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 semi-final against Petra Kvitova, the same player who beat the first round 6–1, 6–4 on clay at the 2019 Madrid Open.
On Thursday, Kenin left his power game using angles with some smart court movements and did not have the pace to work with Kvitova to make sure to slip the ball every time. Kenin also gave the bizarre dropshot return winner from his backhand, which is wide, as a reaction to Kevin Levi’s big lei.
“I feel like I’m playing my best tennis on clay,” Kenin said. “I am moving a lot, moving a lot. I know how to adjust the surface, so I am loving the clay. “
The last time Klein and Swtek met was as juniors at the 2016 French Open on clay, where 15-year-old Swtek defeated Kenin 6-4, 7-5 in the third round. But as Kenin said, the two are now separate players.
He certainly stands out for Swotek, who has defined age and maturity in this tournament by dropping just 23 games and zero sets while marching to his first Grand Slam final. Meanwhile, Kenin has seen four of his six matches from a distance.
“I remember I had lost,” Kenin said of his junior match. “I don’t remember how I played, but of course I can say that I wasn’t as comfortable on clay as I am now.”
A romance that takes its time to develop or love at first sight – which relationship will stand the test of the final?
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