World News – US – Sofia Kenin’s rebounding talent tested at Roland Garros And in 2020


The coronavirus pandemic took a window of opportunity for Sofia Kenin after winning the Australian Open in January But she is still motivated

It takes courage for a tennis player of any skill level to bounce back quickly after losing 6-0, 6-0

Kenin, the new US Grand Slam singles champion, was passed in Rome by Victoria Azarenka last month, but Kenin, not Azarenka, is in the fourth round of Roland Garros

And Kenin was certainly doing the math in her head on Saturday, when she rallied after an edgy start to put off 12 straight games in her 6-2, 6-0 win over Romania qualifier Irina Bara

– Fundamentally winning 12-Love is obviously well after what happened, – Kenin said with a chuckle when we spoke Listen, in Rome Vika played great, I’m not going to take anything away, but I ‘had to move on I knew the French were coming and it was more important for me to do well in French than in Rome Obviously, I want to do well in all tournaments, but if I had to choose, for sure Parisâ ????

Paris was good for her last year, when she made her first big wave in a major, upsetting Serena Williams in the third round on Philippe Chatrier Court before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty

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Now Kenin is back in round four while Barty returns home to Australia for the remainder of the 2020 season due to travel issues during the coronavirus pandemic

But there are plenty of other threats left in the women’s draw, including Kenin’s next opponent Fiona Ferro is not seeded, but she is at home in France and on red clay Ferro, a great engine that glides gracefully and rips its heavy forehand with ease, won the tour’s first event after its five-month hiatus: a clay court tournament in Palermo, Italy

On Saturday, Ferro showed a lot of courage to exhaust Patricia Tig and win 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-0

The French crowd, limited to 1,000 spectators paid per day by the French health authorities, still managed to generate a lot of noise and even a few boos when the spirited Tig started to celebrate after Ferro’s mistakes in the exhausting opening together

The taunts, just like the cheers, were refreshing after so many months of silence at tournaments like the US Open, which went without fans

– I feel like we don’t all like it for sure, – she said – We all want to go out, but we can’t go out, because if you go out you are disqualified and no one sure want it I know what to expect now with the mask and social distancing and no crowds But honestly I feel like this is something I can never get used to because it is not is completely not normal, and I obviously want it to go back to normal as it was. I miss the fans, I really miss the fansâ ????

She also missed some window of opportunity after winning her first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open in early February, only to see the sport shut down worldwide for months afterward.

– It was pretty devastating, obviously it wasn’t the best thing that ever happened, but everyone did and it was right after I won Kenin said This is what it is I try not to be so depressed, and I just tried to stay motivated for once things happened again.

Her unexpected run in Australia has been brilliant and often daring, including a victory over American teenager Coco Gauff, who has, enough or not, seen a much bigger spotlight than Kenin for those interested in the stars. emerging American tennis

Above all, Kenin found the goods in the third set of the final against Garbiñe Muguruza Bottom 0-40 on his 2-all serve, Kenin took five consecutive points: four with the winners on the kick and a with an ace to hold the serve, then close the win

It was one of the great games in Grand Slam history, but it seems like a long history at this point with the pandemic making the sport an afterthought Sponsorship deals for newcomers like Kenin have become more difficult to obtain and the tournament participation fee has been waived during the break

– Really tough timing for her, – said John Tobias, a top tennis agent who is executive vice president of GSE Worldwide – But she is talented and consistent enough that she is likely to regain momentum commercial she had earlier in the year She’s the No. 1 American, world top 5, 21 years old and marketable That ticks a lot of boxes for brands and tournamentsâ € ”

Women’s tennis has often resembled roulette in recent years There have been eight major first-time singles champions in the last 13 Grand Slam tournaments Although Naomi Osaka has managed to win three major titles, d other newcomers have backed off due to seizures or injuries, including Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko and Bianca Andreescu

Will Kenin, 21, have more resistance? She certainly has the competitive drive as well as a perfectionist streak

In Paris, she sometimes seems as unhappy with her winners as she does with her mistakes There have been a lot of twos She played in three sets in her first two rounds against unranked opponents

– Obviously I feel like I should dive into a tournament, – Kenin said I’m a little hard on myselfâ ????

But as she’s proven from her debut, she has a rare ability to restart and move quickly to the next point Despite appearances, she’s having fun on the court: never more than when she can pick up her racquet again two-handed for a backhand and bamboozle an opponent with a perfectly disguised drop shot

In this year’s tough fall conditions, her signature snap is all the rage at Roland Garros, and she hit plenty of winners on Saturday

What happened in Rome seems to have stayed in Rome, and playing doubles with optimistic veteran Bethanie Mattek-Sands also seems to have helped her mood But Kenin has yet to find a more secure footing and higher speed on a slippery surface if she wants to become multiple Grand Slam champion

– Believe it or not, I really hated clay, â ???? she said But I got to like it last year here, and I still do…

Sofia Kenin, French Open, Tennis, Irina Bara, Australian Open

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