Backing up a maiden Slam title is always tough, and the 21-year-old Sofia Kenin is the latest example of that. Many young stars cave under the burgeoning pile of expectations, and Kenin too has found the pressure difficult to deal with following her breakthrough title win at the Australian Open.
While her outings at Dubai and Doha did not last for more than one match, the American has been doing comparatively better this week at the Lyon Open 2020. This WTA International tournament was a much-needed haven for the World No. 5 before she goes on to face the challenges of the North American hardcourt swing beginning at Indian Wells next week.
That said, Kenin hasn't exactly had a smooth ride into the Lyon quarter-finals. Against Vitalia Diatchenko, she finished the match in straight sets but dropped her serve thrice. That at least helped her end her losing streak and gave her some confidence, but her next match against Romanian qualifier Jaqueline Cristian turned out to be an even bigger battle.
Kenin even found herself staring at a match point in a contest she was expected to dominate. She conceded her serve four times in a lengthy and energy-sapping match that surpassed 2.5 hours.
But despite things not going the way she would have liked, Kenin was able to show tremendous mental strength and find a way to win both matches. And that is what she would be looking to do again when taking on Oceane Dodin in her first-ever meeting with the Frenchwoman.
Dodin is currently ranked No. 130th in the world, and she started her campaign with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Mandy Minella. In terms of energy she might be said to have the advantage as sixth seed Jil Teichmann gave her a walkover to the last-eight.
Having said that, Dodin hasn't been tested much so far while Kenin scores highly in that respect, having ground out her two wins. The Australian Open champion should be expected to continue her winning run at Lyon.
Here's all you need to know about the WTA Lyon Open 2020
Tournament: Open 6eme Sens - Metropole de Lyon, France
Category: WTA International
City: Lyon, France
Prize money: $251,750
Tournament schedule: March 2-8, 2020
Match schedule: (1) Sofia Kenin (USA) vs Oceane Dodin (FRA) match not before 10 pm IST on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Head-to-head: First meeting.
Live Telecast: There will be no live telecast in India.
Live Scores: Click here.Published 06 Mar 2020, 15:01 IST