“Wasn’t Like Feeling 100%”: Sofia Kenin Reacts After Thrilling Victory at WTA Abu Dhabi 2021

Published 01/10/2021, 10:01 AM EST
Sofia Kenin of the U.S. celebrates after winning her semi final match against Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitova REUTERS/Charles Platiau

It was the pre-quarters of the Abu Dhabi Open 2021 and Sofia Kenin was up against Yulia Putintseva. In an electrifying contest, it was the Australian Open 2020 winner, Kenin, who kept her calm and defeated Putintseva. The final scoreline of the match was 3-6, 7-6, 6-4.


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Kenin was seriously facing some issues playing in Abu Dhabi. She didn’t look confident in her previous two matches as well and managed to survive on the borderline. After the match, Kenin revealed the challenges she faced during the match. She said that it was a mental battle for her.

Sofia Kenin of the United States poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after her Women’s Singles Final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain> on day thirteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 01, 2020, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“I mean, I felt like today was more of a mental match. Because I mean, I practiced with her quite a bit. So I know her game well, and she knows my game pretty well, as well. But um, yeah, I think it was more mental today,” said Kenin at the post-match press conference in Abu Dhabi.


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She believes that she didn’t play the way she wanted to, but was happy that she was able to find her rhythm in the latter part of the match.

“Yeah, I mean, I didn’t play like the way I wanted to play. But of course, you play really well…And I was able to find my rhythm, towards the end of the third,” added the World No.4.

“Just had to find a way to battle through”- Sofia Kenin

Sofia Kenin of the United States celebrates after winning her Women’s Singles Semifinal match against Ashleigh Barty of Australia on day eleven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2020, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

She further said that she was happy with the way she approached the match after losing the first set. She highlighted that winning the tie-breaker gave her the desired confidence.

“Yeah, I mean, I started off good in the second step, but then she picked up her game, and then it was more mental like that like I said, and yeah, I just had to find a way to battle through and somehow get the tiebreaker win,” continued the 22-year-old American.

The win will definitely give Kenin her confidence back. She ended by saying that she felt really nice after fighting hard and winning a match like that.

“I’m just happy with the way that I fought even though I wasn’t like feeling 100% on court,” concluded the top-seeded player.

Set-1: Sheer Dominance by Yulia Putintseva

Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva celebrates after winning her first-round match against Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 18, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Serving first, Putintseva secured the first game easily. Kenin equalized it pretty soon, and the same story continued till the fifth game. However, it was the sixth game that added the thrill to the match as Putintseva broke and was leading 4-2. She won the subsequent game and took her lead to 5-2.

Kenin managed to win the next game, but it was already very late for her. In the next game, World No.28 Putintseva earned a set-point and thereafter, won the set 6-3.

Set-2 and Set-3: Kenin delivers when it mattered the most

Sofia Kenin of the U.S. in action during the final against Poland’s Iga Swiatek. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

World No.4 Kenin began the second set really well. She won four out of the first five games and was leading 4-1 after breaking in the fourth game. However, Putintseva gained her momentum back and started hitting the ball really well after this.


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Putintseva played really tough tennis and was able to do a great comeback. She broke in the ninth game and reduced the margin to 5-4 after she was 5-2 down, two sets before. She won the next game again to equalize the scoreline at 5-5.

It was a do-or-die situation for the top-seeded Sofia Kenin. She took the game to the tiebreaker after saving a match-point and managed to win that set.


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Sofia Kenin didn’t face much trouble in the third set as she maintained an early lead in the beginning. She won the set on her third match-point and thus managed to win the match.


Anshul Singh

957 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.