Relentless Sofia Kenin Fights Her Way To Lyon Title - UBITENNIS
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Relentless Sofia Kenin Fights Her Way To Lyon Title

The world No.5 has returned back to the winner’s circle after failing to win a match at her two previous tournaments.

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American rising star Sofia Kenin has won her first title since her maiden grand slam triumph in January at the Lyon Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old top seed prevailed 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in a lopsided encounter with Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam at the Palais des Sports de Gerland. Friedsam, who is five years older than Kenin, was playing in her first WTA final since 2015. Similar to her earlier matches in the tournament, it was far from an easy encounter for the world No.5. Who hit 29 winners to 42 unforced errors and dropped her serve three times in total.

Initially, it looked as if Kenin would be on course for a straightforward victory after leading her rival by a set and a break advantage. However, Friedsam hit back during the second set before going on to break once again to force the match into a decider. Despite the blip, Kenin managed to restore order in the final set by breaking the Firedsam serve twice en route to her fifth title on the WTA Tour.

“It was a little bit different pressure and it was such a tough tournament,” Kenin said during the trophy presentation. “I’m so happy to have come here. Lyon is so beautiful.
“I’d like to congratulate Anna-Lena on a great tournament, great match it honestly could have gone either way.”

The victory comes after what has been a difficult period for Kenin since the Australian Open. In her two previous tournaments (Doha and Dubai) she lost in the first round. Besides Friedsam, she also defeated Alison Van Uytvanck, Océane Dodin, Jaqueline Cristian and Vitalia Diatchenko in Lyon. Four out of her five wins were in three sets.

“I had two tough losses (last month) but I knew I needed to regroup, and I’m so happy that I won it,” Kenin reflected.
“Every match was a close one and I had to really fight through – every player I played put up a tough fight against me, and I was able to play my game which was good. I’m happy that I came here – it was a good decision from my side… I wanted to get enough match play going into Indian Wells and Miami.”

Kenin will be hoping to carry her winning momentum into Indian Wells where she will be seeking to end her country’s title drought at the tournament. An American player hasn’t won the Indian Wells title since Serena Williams and Andre Agassi both triumphed back in 2001. She will grace her presence in the main draw for only the third time in her career and is yet to progress beyond the second round.

 

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‘Another Level’ – Nick Kyrgios Praises Rising Star Jannik Sinner

This week the world No.11 is bidding to win his third consecutive indoor tournament.

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Jannik Sinner (ITA), (Erste Bank Open 2021, Wiener Stadthalle); Copyright: e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger

Jannik Sinner’s recent dominance when it comes to playing tennis indoors hasn’t gone unnoticed with one of his peers praising him on social media.

 

The 20-year-old defeated Reilly Opelka in the second round of the Vienna Open on Wednesday in what is his fifth consecutive win on the Tour. Impressively Sinner has now won 18 straight sets on indoor hardcourts. Last Sunday he claimed his fifth Tour title at the European Open to become the youngest ATP player to win that many ATP trophies since Novak Djokovic back in 2007.

Sinner’s achievements were highlighted on social media by journalist Ben Rothenberg who posted a tweet of the 18 sets he has won. That caught the attention of former top 20 player and two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Nick Kyrgios who paid his own tribute to the Italian.

“He is another level. That’s for sure, played him in Washington doubles. Never played someone who hit the ball as hard,” he wrote.

The two are yet to play against each other in singles competition. In Washington Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe lost 4-6, 4-6, to Sinner and his partner Sebastian Korda.

Sinner’s latest win in Vienna has boosted his chances of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin next month. He has risen back up the standings to 10th in the race after overtaking Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie. Norrie will play his second round match on Thursday.

“I think I had not so many chances and I used them. I think that was the key today,” Sinner said of his latest win against Opelka. “I served well. My service holds were always quite fast and good. I felt well on the baseline, so I knew when I went in a rally that somehow I was going to win the point. But it’s never easy playing against him. You never have rhythm.”

Awaiting Sinner in the next round will be Austria’s Denis Novak who is currently ranked 116th in the world and is yet to beat a top 10 player in his career.

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Andrey Rublev moves past Ilya Ivashka to reach the quarter finals in St. Petersburg

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Andrey Rublev overcame Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes to advance to the quarter finals for the third time in his career in St. Petersburg Open. 

 

Rublev fended off all seven break points and earned two breaks in the seventh game of the first set and in the third game of the second set. The Moscow native player fired 10 aces and won 84 % of his first service points. 

The eight-time titlist is aiming to win his third career title on home soil after his previous titles in Moscow 2019 and St. Petersburg 2020. 

Rublev set up a quarter final clash against either Sebastian Korda or Botic Van de Zandschulp.Karen Khachanov knocked out Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-3 after 1 hour and 25 minutes. Khachanov will take on 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who eased past Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-2 6-3 after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Cilic leads 1-0 against Khachanov in their only previous head-to-head match in Cincinnati in 2018.

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Matteo Berrettini rallies from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili in Vienna

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This year’s Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini came back from one set down to beat Nikoloz Basilashvlili 6-7 (5-7 ) 6-3 6-2 after 2 hours and 5 minutes reaching the quarter final at the Erste Bank in Vienna. 

 

Berrettini saved all three break points he faced and hit 22 aces, including two on the last two points of the match. 

Number 3 seed Berrettini had won three of his previous head-to-head matches against Indian Wells finalist Basilashvili, but they met for the first time on in indoor court. Berrettini had beaten Basilashvili in Winston Salem 2018, Halle 2019 and Rome 2021. 

Both players went on serve in the first set. Berrettini saved the only break point in the second game. Basilashvili earned a mini-break to take a 3-1 lead. Berrettini pulled back on serve to draw level to 3-3. Basilashvili earned another mini-break on the 10th point to earn two set points at 6-4 and converted his second chance to win the tie-break 7-5. 

Berrettini saved a break point to hold serve at deuce in the first game of the second set. The Italian player earned a break in the second game to open up a 3-0 lead and held his next service games before closing out the second set with a double break in the ninth game. 

Berrettini went up a 3-0 lead with a break in the second game of the decider. The Queen’s tournament champion faced a break point in the seventh game after a double fault, but he saved it with an ace. He served out the third set 6-3 with his 22nd ace. Berrettini set up a quarter final match against Spanish Next Gen player Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-4.

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