Top American tennis star Sofia Kenin has said she doesn’t want to change her unique service action as it has fetched her good rewards during her title-winning run at the Australian Open last year.
Kenin reached the round-of-32 at the Abu Dhabi Open on Thursday, beating Chinese Yang Zhaoxuan in straight sets. Her comfortable win serves as a strong statement of intent ahead of the Australian Open where she will defend her singles title.
On her habit of not looking at the ball while tossing it for service, Kenin told EssentiallySports, “I’ve done that all my life so you know, why change things? I won Australia, got to the finals of Roland Garros. So (I) don’t really want to change that serve.”
Sharing her thoughts on the game, Kenin said, “Conditions were not easy, (I was) a little bit frustrated, you know, but got the wind, which is good. Felt quite tired, which is normal, but obviously not good.
“So I got to try to recover. (The) courts are obviously faster, I feel like if the balls (are) deep then it kind of slides so I feel like I’ve gotten better adjusting to that because like my first hit, I was hitting the fence because it was sliding but (I have) gotten used to that.”
In a commanding display, the American fired eleven aces to just four by the 55th-ranked Chinese and converted three of the twelve breakpoints that she won to progress to the next round.
Currently at fourth in the WTA singles rankings, Kenin got the better of Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the title clash at Melbourne Park to claim her maiden Grand Slam trophy last year.
There wasn’t much to separate the two players in the opening set of the round-of-64 encounter on Friday, as the Chinese went toe-to-toe with the higher-ranked American and took it to a tie-break. However, summoning her experience and superior skill-sets, Kenin edged out Zhaoxuan in the tie-breaker.
With the momentum firmly with her, Kenin went all out in the second and opened out a comfortable lead before closing out the match: 7-6, 6-2.
Coming into the Australian Open as someone with bright title credentials last year, the American dished out a string of dominating performances and recorded facile wins over compatriot Coco Gauff in the fourth and home favorite Ashleigh Barty in the semifinals to make the title round.
After losing the opening set to Muguruza in the final, Kenin came roaring back to win the next two, and with that, the championship.
Kenin also made the fourth round of the US Open before losing in front of her home crowd to Elise Mertens of Belgium in straight sets.
Having twice come close to adding to her Australian Open title, the American will be determined to lift her second Major title at the Melbourne Park this year.