Sofia Kenin wins Hobart International

12 January 2019, by Leigh Rogers

American Sofia Kenin is the Hobart International women’s singles champion for 2019.

A dominant performance helped the 20-year-old win her first WTA singles title, beating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-3 6-0 in a 71-minute final today.

“I’m really happy to have won,” Kenin said.

“I didn’t want to overthink it and I’m happy with the way I composed myself during the match.”

The No.77-ranked Schmiedlova started strongly, firing a forehand winner in the opening point. She earned three break points on the Kenin serve in the fourth game, but couldn’t convert.

It proved a turning point in the match. Kenin took control from there, breaking to love in the next game.

Schmiedlova showed the fighting spirit that helped her reach the final, breaking back on her sixth break point opportunity in the next game. But the momentum remained in Kenin’s favour, with the American winning the next three games to secure the opening set.

Kenin’s power and depth of groundstrokes kept Schmiedlova on the back foot in the second set, helping her race to a 5-0 lead.

“It might have looked easy, but every game was close and I knew I had to play well,” Kenin said.

With her first WTA title in sight, there were no signs of nerves for the 20-year-old as she sealed victory on the Schmiedlova serve.

Kenin, currently ranked No.56, has made a blistering start to the 2019 season. She won her first WTA doubles title in Auckland last week and is now projected to break into the world’s top 40 in singles after her effort this week. She did not drop a set throughout the tournament and beat three-seeded players.

“I feel in great form and I’m really proud of myself,” Kenin said.

Schmiedlova admitted she found it hard to halt Kenin’s momentum.

“I had some chances at the beginning of the first set, but when she was up she didn’t let me get back into the match,” the world No.77 said. “She played well, she was better today.”

The Slovakian will take confidence into next week’s Australian Open, having exceeded her own expectations with her run to the final.

“It was definitely a great week for me. I won against a few very good players and I didn’t expect it when I came here,” she said.

“Even if today is tough losing, I’m still happy with my performance here.”