Winning the Australian Open earlier on in the season was one of the biggest surprises on the tour in many years but also totally deserved for Sofia Kenin.
The American’s rise on the tour over the last year or so has been magnificent and she continues to grow into being a top 20 and top 10 player.
After winning your first Grand Slam does become a little bit of a lull, there is a drop off and it is totally expected especially following an unexpected title win of this magnitude.
Sofia Kenin was no different and I think winning in Melbourne makes it tougher as well as players take 2-3 weeks off usually so do lose a little bit of momentum when they return.
Sofia went to Fed Cup as the new American number one in Washington. She defeated Sevastova 6-2 6-2 and a loss to Ostapenko of 3-6 6-2 2-6 was the first in a run of three consecutive defeats for the American.
Losses to Elena Rybakina and Dayana Yastremska in Dubai and Qatar respectively left the American needing a good win heading into the inaugural event in Lyon where she was the top seed.
It does then add a little bit of pressure but pressure I wouldn’t say is unwanted by Kenin who always seems so composed, focused and determined.
People will argue that she only had to beat one opponent in the top 100 (Alison Van Utyvanck) on route to winning her second title of the year but you can only play who is in front of you.
At no point was this a walk in the park for Kenin who had to orchestrate her way past four players in four consecutive three set battles.
I’m sure looking back that Sofia would have been happy with her title win but would have probably liked a bit more of a straight forward path.
At the same time though, wins on the board are wins on the board. I think it was a good decision to go and in a time now where we don’t know whether we are coming or going with what’s going on in the world to end that run with the title is key.
It has helped brush the cobwebs off but I wouldn’t say completely as that challenge was lacking against two top thirty opponents prior to her win in Lyon.