Sofia Kenin reaches her first final in three years at San Diego Open
Sep 19, 2023
After Sofia Kenin's family moved from Moscow to Pembroke Pines, Kenin began working with Rick Macci at a young age in Boca Raton. She's had plenty of ups and downs in her pro career but the Floridian is begining to show promise again after an impressive run to the finals of the Cymbiotika San Diego Open.
The resurgent Kenin faced Barbora Krejcikova, a 27-year-old from Brno, Czech Republic, who captured her seventh career singles title in San Diego last week with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win. Regardless, no one will ever question the runner-up Kenin’s passion for her livelihood.
From the time, as a wide-eyed six-year-old, she followed Kim Clijsters around the grounds of the Miami Open, to the moment she raised the silvery Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup at the 2020 Australian Open, right up until today, she’s been a heart-on-her-sleeve competitor, often airing out her emotions — both the highs and the lows — as if each match, each point, is tantamount to life or death.
So worked up was Kenin last week in San Diego that, following her gutsy three-set semifinal dismissal of compatriot Emma Navarro, she couldn’t speak — she’d completely lost her voice. But despite an impassioned effort in the final, the 24-year-old couldn’t close out her fellow wildcard in her first final in more than three years. Even in the losing effort, the player who last year dropped as low as No. 426 in the world will return to the Top 60.
“Of course, I’m disappointed,” said Kenin. “But there are definitely a lot of positives. Last year, I played here and lost in the first round. Now I played in the final against a Top-10 player. She’s obviously a great player. I’ve shown that I can play, too. It was just a few points here and there that didn’t go my way. I’m going to take all the positives from this week.”
Above: Watch the Match Highlights from Sofia Kenin vs. Barbora Krejcikova at the 2023 Cymbiotika San Diego Open. YouTube: WTA.
It was a tough match. Krejcikova’s steely resolve against Kenin is perhaps best encapsulated by the ninth game of the decisive third set. Serving at 4-all, 15-40, Krejcikova would go on to save four break points for an all-important hold. She subsequently broke Kenin to seal the match in two hours and 28 minutes.
For her efforts, Krejcikova received not only the winner’s check and trophy but, as per the local tradition, a surfboard.