KENIN ONE TO WATCH

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - ADAM SMITH RE­PORTS,

WITH a maiden WTA ti­tle un­der her belt, US young­ster Sofia Kenin, above, has her sights fixed on do­ing some dam­age at the Aus­tralian Open.

The 20-year-old claimed the Ho­bart In­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day, surg­ing past un­seeded Slo­vakian Anna Karolina Sch­miedlova 6-3 6-0 in her first top-level sin­gles fi­nal.

A PO­TEN­TIAL sec­ond round clash against world No.1 Si­mona Halep at the Aus­tralian Open awaits Sofia Kenin, and the Amer­i­can is itch­ing to see ex­actly how her fast im­prov­ing game stacks up.

Kenin com­pleted a dom­i­nant week in Tas­ma­nia yes­ter­day by storm­ing to her maiden WTA ti­tle at the Ho­bart In­ter­na­tional, blow­ing away Anna Karolina Sch­miedlova 6-3, 6-0.

The world No. 56, who will rise into the top 40 fol­low­ing her stun­ning vic­tory, peeled off the last nine games to seal the re­sult in an hour and 11 min­utes.

She did not drop a set all week and blasted top seed and world No. 19 Caro­line Gar­cia, sev­enth seed Kirsten Flip­kens and sixth seed Al­ize Cor­net out of the tour­na­ment in the process.

Af­ter win­ning her first WTA dou­bles ti­tle in Auck­land along­side Eu­ge­nie Bouchard last week, Kenin heads to the first Grand Slam of the year as one of the world’s most in­form play­ers.

How­ever should she dis­patch qual­i­fier Veronika Ku­d­er­me­tova in her open­ing round, a date with Halep beck­ons to see ex­actly how much she has im­proved fol­low­ing a big off-sea­son.

“I couldn’t ask for a bet­ter start. This gives me a boost and a lot of con­fi­dence com­ing into Aus­tralia and I believe e I can do it. I have proven it,” Kenin enin said.

“I def­i­nitely feel this his way. I play a qual­i­fier and she is ob­vi­ously tough to play but I am go­ing in with a lot of con­fi­dence and hope­fully I can do some dam­age there.

“When I saw Halep and saw my­self [in the same sec­tion of the draw] I saw it, one match at a time and hope­fully I can play Halep I guess.”

From 3-3 in the first set it was all one way traf­fic at the Do­main Ten­nis Cen­tre, with Kenin ab­sorb­ing a heap of pres­sure early on serve and fight­ing off eight break points.

Al­though Sch­miedlova fi­nally con­verted her ninth op­por­tu­nity to level pro­ceed­ings at 3-3, Kenin quickly hit back and from there it was all one way traf­fic.

She fin­ished the fi­nal with 21 win­ners to 12, while only

hav­ing 20 un­forced er­rors to 26 and land­ing an as­ton­ish­ing 86 per cent of her first serves.

“It might have looked easy but ev­ery game was close and I knew I had to play well and I couldn’t let down be­cause any­thing can hap­pen,” Kenin said.

“Even at 5-0 I knew I had to close it.

“It is amaz­ing. I am re­ally happy to have won. I am happy with the way I com­posed my­self dur­ing the match.”

Pic­tures: ROB BLAKERS, AAP

HOT FORM: Sofia Kenin on her way to the Ho­bart In­ter­na­tional sin­gles ti­tle in yes­ter­day’s fi­nal against Anna Karolina Sch­miedlova of Slo­vakia, left.

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