MALLORCA, Spain - No.7 seed Sofia Kenin is through to her third WTA final of the year - and her first career final on grass - after upsetting No.2 seed Anastasija Sevastova in three sets at the Mallorca Open.
The 20-year-old American struck 23 winners and broke Sevastova four times on her way to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory, and awaits the winner between top seed Angelique Kerber and No.3 seed Belinda Bencic in the final.
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“It feels very good to be in the final,” Kenin enthused after the match. “I’m very happy to be here, I love the atmosphere - I feel like Mallorca gets me. And I’m obviously playing well every year here. Yeah, I think it’s my good luck charm!”
Both Kenin and Sevastova have a history with Mallorca: for Kenin, she is back at the tournament that saw her reach her maiden WTA semifinal final a year ago, while Sevastova has made every final since the event’s inception - she was the 2017 champion, as well as a two-time runner up.
But despite Sevastova’s wealth of Mallorca experience, it was Kenin who looked more calm and composed on Pista Central. She came into the tournament having already lifted a trophy in Hobart and reaching a final in Acapulco, and recorded a French Open stunner over Serena Williams en route to the fourth round.
Sevastsova struggled to find any inroads on the Kenin serve during the first set, and as a result the American had the pressure firmly on her opponent. Kenin powered her way to a 2-1 lead, playing aggressive and rushing up the court to find acute angles for her booming forehand.
The lone break was all she needed, although she created five break chances across two other Sevastova service games - for her part, Sevastova wasn’t able to bring up any break opportunities as the American served it out with ease.
Sevastova finally saw her first break chances early in the second set, but she couldn’t capitalize as Kenin roared ahead and broke to make it 2-1. The next few games went to the server, but just as Kenin looked to be closing in on the victory, Kenin seemed to ease off the gas - allowing Sevastova a lifeline back into the match.
The Latvian took the chance and ran with it, breaking back at 4-4 and reeling off the last four games of the set, completing the comeback from a set and a break down to bring them to a third set.
But Kenin got back on track in the decider, her big serve untouchable and applying the pressure on the return to create a 4-0, double break lead. This time, Sevastova couldn’t find her way back in it and the American claimed the victory in just under two hours on court.