Sofia Kenin won her 2nd title of the season on Sunday, adding Lyon to her maiden Grand Slam triumph in January at the Australian Open, when the 21-year-old top seed became the inaugural Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon champion with a 6-2 4-6 6-4 win over the unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam after an hour and 49 minutes battle.
I had two tough losses [last month in Dubai and Doha] but I knew I needed to regroup, and I’m so happy that I won it. 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. Sofia Kenin
Friedsam, who is 5 years older than Kenin and from Germany, was playing in her first WTA final since 2015, having returned to the tour after several injury-marred years that involved two shoulder surgeries, and she put up quite a fight against the World No 5.
It looked as if Kenin would be on course for a straightforward victory after leading her rival by a set and a break, but Friedsam hit back during the second before going on to break once again to force the match into a decider.
“It’s expected,” recalled Kenin afterwards. “She lost a set but she’s not going to give up, it’s the final. She just played some really good tennis and I tried to find a way to regroup and find my game in the third set.”
Despite the blip, Kenin managed to restore order in the final set by breaking the Friedsam serve twice en route to her 5th 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.”
Kenin hit 29 winners to 42 unforced errors and dropped her serve 3 times in total but it was a personal triumph after a difficult period for the American No 1 since the Australian Open, coming into Lyon on the back of a three-match losing streak.
“I had two tough losses [last month in Dubai and Doha] 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.”
Any hopes that Kenin could carry her winning momentum into Indian Wells were dashed when it was announced late on Sunday that the WTA Premier Mandatory tournament is cancelled due to health risks related to the coronavirus, shocking the tennis world.